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UK News John Bercrow named in new Westminster harassment allegations

12:19  09 march  2018
12:19  09 march  2018 Source:   msn.com

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LONDON — House of Commons Speaker John Bercow is one of three MPs named in a new BBC Newsnight investigation into the bullying and harassment of women working at Westminster .

Bercow’s spokesperson described the allegations as “simply untrue…either eight years ago, or at any other time.” Join the conversation about this story ». NOW WATCH: The racist origins of marijuana prohibition. Source: BusinessInsider John Bercrow named in new Westminster harassment

Dan Kitwood/Getty © Dan Kitwood/Getty Dan Kitwood/Getty

House of Commons Speaker John Bercow is one of three MPs named in a new BBC Newsnight investigation into the bullying and harassment of women working at Westminster.

Newsnight spoke to dozens of female staff about the aggressive and degrading treatment they had allegedly received from male MPs during their time in Westminster, in a programme broadcast on Thursday night.

Kate Emms, who began working as Bercow's private secretary in mid-2010, told Newsnight that she quit the role in 2011 as she no longer felt comfortable doing the job.

Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow and his wife Sally © PA Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow and his wife Sally

Colleagues of Emms told Newsnight that Bercow had shouted at her in front of other staff and made her feel undermined.

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Bercow's spokesperson described the allegations as "simply untrue...either eight years ago, or at any other time."

Emms was signed off in 2011 and given a new job in Parliament. Commons authorities were late informed that she had been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, the Newsnight report added.

a group of people posing for the camera: Paul Farrelly © Provided by Business Insider UK Paul Farrelly

The other MPs named in the investigation were Labour's Paul Farrelly and Conservative Mark Pritchard.

Describing a science committee trip to Italy in 2004, the witness said: "He [Farrelly] wound her [Commander] up like a screw and reduced her to tears.The more he upset her, the more he enjoyed it, the more he kept turning the screw. He was very aggressive. It felt like no one had the ability or authority to intervene.

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It has taken less than a month for the assault and harassment scandal that has engulfed Hollywood to spread to Westminster . In the past few days, our political system has become paralysed by allegations of assault and harassment by male MPs.

The sexual harassment claims in Westminster Jump to media player Allegations of inappropriate behaviour by MPs from different parties surfaced more than a week ago. Share this with. These are external links and will open in a new window.

"Everybody knew it was wrong."

File photo dated 17/5/09 of the Houses of Parliament in London. © PA File photo dated 17/5/09 of the Houses of Parliament in London.

Commander worked with Farrelly again in 2010 while on the culture, media and sport committee. It was around this time that she lodged an official complaint, in which she said she had "repeated nightmares about going on Committee visits with Mr Farrelly and being criticised by him for having neglected tiny details."

Farrelly, who has been MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme since 2001, denies any wrongdoing.

Tory MP Pritchard was accused by several Westminster staff for being aggressive towards clerks. One witness told Newsnight that Pritchard "exploded" at a female staff member over the hotel she had booked him into for a trip to California.

The MP for The Wrekin denied all allegations. "I understand, over the past several years the House authorities have addressed numerous complaints about MPs, but they have also informed me they have no record of any complaints against me, and if they had, I would have been notified," he said.

The programme, aired on International Women's Day, shed more light on the culture of harassment, bullying and sexual misconduct towards female staff in Westminster that has been a talking point over recent months.

One woman told Newsnight that she had been pushed against a wall, forcibly kissed, slapped and groped by male MPs during her time working in Parliament.

Jo Swinson, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, called for an independent investigation into Bercow, Farrelly and Pritchard. She said Parliament "doesn't have modern and professional standards... [and] many MPs see themselves as above other members of staff."

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