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Speaker John Bercow plans to tackle groping and bullying in the Commons with CCTV and alcohol curfew

Pestminster MPs to have CCTV in their offices and a strict alcohol curfew in plans being drawn up by Speaker John Bercow to tackle epidemic of groping and bullying in the Commons

  • Speaker John Bercow is drawing up plans to tackle sexual advances and bullying 
  • CCTV could be installed in Commons offices and strict alcohol curfews imposed
  • The moves are in response to a report into the ‘Pestminster’ scandal of 2017  
  • The suggestion MPs should be filmed in their offices is likely to be met with fury

MPs could be forced to install video cameras in their Commons offices to tackle an ‘epidemic’ of unwanted sexual advances and bullying, The Mail on Sunday has learned.

Under the plans being drawn up by Speaker John Bercow, researchers would also be issued with GPS-tracked ‘grope alarms’ to record the exact time and location of any assault, while sales of alcohol could also be banned on the Parliamentary Estate before 6pm.

The moves are in response to an imminent report into the ‘Pestminster’ scandal of 2017, when dozens of allegations of abuse by politicians were aired. 

The inquiry by Gemma White QC is expected to be published within the next fortnight – and although Mr Bercow and his staff have not seen an advance copy, sources say they are ‘fearing the worst’.

Under the plans being drawn up by Speaker John Bercow (pictured), researchers would also be issued with GPS-tracked ‘grope alarms’ to record the exact time and location of any assault, while sales of alcohol could also be banned on the Parliamentary Estate before 6pm

Ms White has looked into complaints from the staff of over 100 MPs about groping and verbal bullying, with a hotline to report misconduct receiving 545 calls and emails from 194 people in a year.

A separate inquiry into MPs’ behaviour by Dame Laura Cox, which excluded incidents reported by their own staff, found widespread bullying and harassment by ‘boorish’ MPs, while an investigation by Naomi Ellenbogen QC into misconduct in the House of Lords will also report soon.

Mr Bercow’s plans are an attempt to take the sting out of what is expected to be a renewed row about Westminster’s drink-fuelled culture.

But the suggestion that MPs should be filmed behind the closed doors of their offices is likely to be greeted with fury – especially as Mr Bercow has himself faced accusations of bullying his staff. He denies any such claims.

The moves is in response to an imminent report into the ¿Pestminster¿ scandal of 2017, when dozens of allegations of abuse by politicians were aired. The inquiry by Gemma White QC (pictured) is expected to be published within the next fortnight

The moves is in response to an imminent report into the ‘Pestminster’ scandal of 2017, when dozens of allegations of abuse by politicians were aired. The inquiry by Gemma White QC (pictured) is expected to be published within the next fortnight

A separate inquiry into MPs¿ behaviour by Dame Laura Cox found widespread bullying and harassment by ¿boorish¿ MPs

while an investigation by Naomi Ellenbogen QC (right) into misconduct in the House of Lords will also report soon

A separate inquiry into MPs’ behaviour by Dame Laura Cox (left) found widespread bullying and harassment by ‘boorish’ MPs, while an investigation by Naomi Ellenbogen QC (right) into misconduct in the House of Lords will also report soon

A source said: ‘It would be for the MPs’ own protection. If a staff member accuses them of sexual assault, rape or verbal abuse they can scroll back the footage and prove their innocence – or otherwise.’

The same logic applies to the portable panic alarms, which would pinpoint the exact location of an alleged offence.

Mr Bercow also believes that banning booze from being sold until 6pm would reduce sexual and verbal abuse. 

The source said: ‘A lot of these incidents can be linked to members enjoying a liquid lunch and then behaving inappropriately when they return to their offices.’

But the suggestion that MPs should be filmed behind the closed doors of their offices is likely to be greeted with fury ¿ especially as Mr Bercow has himself faced accusations of bullying his staff. He denies any such claims

But the suggestion that MPs should be filmed behind the closed doors of their offices is likely to be greeted with fury – especially as Mr Bercow has himself faced accusations of bullying his staff. He denies any such claims

Mr Bercow¿s plans are an attempt to take the sting out of what is expected to be a renewed row about Westminster¿s drink-fuelled culture

Mr Bercow’s plans are an attempt to take the sting out of what is expected to be a renewed row about Westminster’s drink-fuelled culture

Ms White is also understood to have uncovered a surprising gender imbalance – with female MPs more likely to be the subject of complaints. Although they make up only 28 per cent of MPs, they attracted nearly half of the complaints she investigated.

Meanwhile, the British Medical Journal will next week release the first survey highlighting the growing incidence of mental health issues among MPs.

Politicians have complained that they do not have anyone they can turn to for help and do not feel comfortable talking to party whips, in case it is later used as ammunition against them.

The Speaker’s Office said: ‘If this report demands serious action, the Speaker will propose serious action. He is on record for saying he believes the House should not be selling alcohol before 6pm on sitting days. He has thought for a while that consideration should be given to the introduction of CCTV in MPs’ offices to protect staff.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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