No 10 admits ‘a lot to do’ to change ‘shocking’ culture in parliament

Downing Street has admitted “there is absolutely much more work to do” to improve the culture in British politics, after a spate of stories around sexism, harassment and bullying.

In today’s lobby briefing, the prime minister’s spokesperson refused to “prescribe one single cause”, but admitted the culture in parliament needed changing.

“I think what’s clear is that areas have a lot to do to improve the culture in parliament… the sorts of behaviour that we’ve seen reported shouldn’t be tolerated in any workplace, let alone parliament.”

“Some of the themes and evidence given by female MPs is shocking and it’s right for firm action being taken where concerns are being raised.”


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Chris Heaton-Harris, chief whip, is investigating reports that a Conservative MP was watching porn in the House of Commons chamber. It is believed that the matter has been referred by the Independent Complaints and Grievances Scheme.

Number 10 suggested that the MP is a backbench member and not a Minister as previously reported.

When Downing Street was asked whether the prime minister was concerned over a culture that encourages sexism, harassment, and violence in politics it stated that Johnson wanted to create a more accepting atmosphere for women in politics.

The PM’s spokesperson stated: “I think the prime minister does want to encourage more women to come forwards in politics at all levels.

“It’s clear that these sorts of instances, be it misogyny or sexual harassment, simply put people off, understandably.”

All sides of Westminster are asking questions about the culture at Westminster this week. Labour MP Liam Byrne was found to have bullied an ex-staff member by the Independent Expert Panel.

The House of Commons will now suspend Byrne for two days. Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone described Byrne’s behaviour was a “significant misuse of power”.