MPs are sexually assaulting parliamentary researchers who feel they have “nowhere to go” to report abuse, a Labour member has claimed.
John Mann, the MP for Bassetlaw, said he was aware of a series of “recent” sexual assault allegations against members of parliament and called for a whistleblowing line for victims.
The revelations came at a hearing of the Commons standards committee which is leading a review into the MPs’ code of conduct.
Mr Mann offered a “theoretical example” of an 18-year-old parliamentary intern being asked by an older MP to work late before “pressing” her to go home with them. He said such behaviour would not be a “matter of criminality” but would be “potentially an issue for whistleblowing to make a complaint”.
The Labour MP described the cases that had been reported to him as below “the criminal threshold” otherwise he would be advising victims to report the MPs’ behaviour to the police. He said: “The individuals explicitly did not want me to raise the issue and therefore potentially have them named.”
Parliament set up a confidential hotline following allegations of harassment and bullying from parliamentary staff in 2014.
A freedom of information request by the Daily Telegraph revealed that the hotline received just 31 calls in the first three months after it was launched, owing to fears from staff that reporting abuse would be “career suicide”.