Wealden MP Nus Ghani has condemned ‘misogynistic’ behaviour in Parliament as accusations of sexual harassment of staff continue to emerge.
She said “One hundred years on from getting the vote it’s shocking we still have to address conduct and language that intimidates & controls women in particular.”
Her comments come after Sevenoaks MP Sir Michael Fallon admitted repeatedly putting his hand on a journalist’s knee 15 years ago.
Andrea Leadsom, Leader of the House of Commons, is heading a dedicated support team focused on ending abuse within Parliament after revelations this week of apparent misconduct in Parliament.
On Monday (October 30), and before the news about Sir Michael Fallon, Nus Ghani wrote on Twitter: “With the privilege of being an elected MP comes a duty to uphold a code of conduct, and that never involves sexist language and behaviour.
“Last week I called for a debate on the use of misogynistic, anti-Semitic and homophobic language and its negative impact on political discourse.
“This is about the abuse of power and the status of women. I welcome cross party agreement to stamp out this climate of abuse towards women.”
Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark told the Times: “No one should be subject to harassment wherever they work and that is especially so in Parliament which exists to stand up for people.”
Tonbridge MP Tom Tugendhat was also invited to comment but no response had been received at the time of going to press.
Defence Secretary and Sevenoaks MP Sir Michael Fallon put his hand on the knee of a journalist, his spokesman has confirmed.
The father-of-two had been married for 15 years when he made contact with radio presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer under a table at, it is believed, the 2002 Conservative Party Conference.
Now married for 31 years, the Tory – who was elected to the Kent seat in 1997, has not issued a fresh apology. His spokesman said Sir Michael had apologised at the time.
The Sun reported yesterday (Tuesday, October 31) that the MP was rebuked when he made the advance.
Ms Hartley-Brewer, who has worked for the Sunday Express, said: “I calmly and politely explained to him that, if he did it again, I would ‘punch him in the face’.
“He withdrew his hand and that was the end of the matter.”
Scottish-born Sir Michael (65) was appointed Secretary of State for Defence in 2014.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said yesterday that Sir Michael will not be investigated by the Cabinet Office.
The spokesman refused to say whether the PM has full confidence in Sir Michael, adding: “The Defence Secretary has said that he apologised for an incident which took place some time ago, I don’t believe there is a complaint that has been made against him.”
Downing Street later announced that Sir Michael will not face an investigation.