A Labour lawmaker in the United Kingdom has revealed that the Members of Parliament sexually harass young employees but can go unpunished as their victims feel helpless.
Labor MP John Mann made the remarks at the House of Commons’ Standards Committee on Tuesday, saying that sexual assault by politicians at Westminster was a “major issue” to be addressed.
“In here [Westminster], there are alleged sexual assaults by current members of Parliament and nowhere for people to go, or they don’t feel confident in going. That’s a major issue,” he said.
Mann called for the necessity of setting up a whistle-blowing service to help victims come forward, adding that the female employees did not feel secure to raise the issue.
The lawmaker told the committee that he was aware of cases where staff had “significant issues” with the way current parliamentarians behave towards them but he was powerless to report colleagues to police because “there is no criminality” involved.
“That is not a matter of criminality but [one] that would be potentially an issue for whistle-blowing to make a complaint. The cases I am aware of, there is no criminality otherwise it would be very straightforward. I would be advising go to the police,” he said.
In a shocking example, Mann said that older MPs would force young female interns to work late before “pressing” them into going home with them.
“There has been improper sexual behavior in this building that I am aware of with members of staff by Members of Parliament, including in recent times, the last two years, and I have had complaints of that, the individuals do not feel comfortable or confident, working in a political environment, of raising that issue and explicitly did not want me to raise the issue and therefore potentially have them named,” Mann noted.
UK MPs are already embroiled in other sexual scandals. In 2015 alone, reports by UK media reveled that over 247,000 attempts were made by users of the British parliament’s network to check out pornographic material.