In Brief

Should MPs accused of sexual harassment remain anonymous?

Cross-party report on bullying and abuse sparks debate about how best to tackle complaints

MPs accused of workplace sexual harassment or bullying would remain anonymous under a proposed system to investigate complaints.

A cross-party committee today recommended anonymity along with a tougher Code of Conduct and a range of sanctions for those who behave inappropriately, including expulsion or mandatory training and future behaviour agreements.

Nearly one in five people (19%) working at Westminster have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment or inappropriate behaviour in the past year, according to research reported by Reuters

The findings follow a spate of complaints in recent months that have led to the high-profile resignation of government officials including Damian Green, who quit as first secretary of state in December. Green has not been convicted of criminal conduct and denies the allegations.

The recommendation of anonymity is one of the most controversial of the committee’s proposals. The suggestion was backed by a number of MPs, including Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas, the BBC reports. Those in favour argue that it offers the same protection that the accused would have during criminal procedures.

But Kate Maltby - the writer whose accusations of sexual harassment led to Green’s resignation - says publicity is “essential to getting women to come forward with what they know”, according to the London Evening Standard.

Other alleged victims reportedly told The Sun that bullying “needed to be treated more seriously, and that the code must cover more people”.

Women’s Equality Party leader Sophie Walker and Labour MP John Mann say the Westminister harassment report does not go far enough.

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