“Time for the House to get its house in order.”
We and our clients welcome the damning report of Dame Laura Cox, published today.
Dame Laura is clear that it is the women workers of Westminster who bear the brunt of its macho and toxic culture.
Unchecked gendered bullying and harassment, sexual harassment and assault within the House of Commons is deeply damaging to public confidence in Parliament. It sends an unacceptable message about impunity for abuse and misconduct in the workplace to the detriment of women everywhere.
Our legislature sits at the pinnacle of our constitution; its power is corrupted by its abuse.
The decades-long failure to grapple with wrongdoing at the heart of our democracy has led to significant and long-term harm for the women affected.
We echo Dame Laura’s calls for urgent and determined action to make the Commons a safe and fair place to work. An early commitment to implementing each of her recommendations would be a start.
Change must be about more than a reactive reshuffling of paper and persons. The clean slate cannot be achieved without addressing the failures of the past.
It is long past time for the House to put its house in order.
- Harriet Wistrich
Director, Centre for Women's Justice
Notes for editors:
1. The Centre for Women’s Justice (“CWJ”) acts on behalf of a group of women employees and former employees of the House of Commons (“our clients”). Each of these women produced her own factual submission to the Independent Inquiry into the Bullying and Harassment of House of Commons Staff conducted by Dame Laura Cox (“Cox Inquiry”). In keeping with the terms of reference, our clients remain anonymous.
2. The CWJ is a legal charity founded in 2016, which aims to advance the human rights of women and girls in England and Wales by holding the state to account for failures in the prevention of violence against women and girls. Bringing together specialist lawyers, academics and other experts in the field of violence against women with those working on the frontline as activists, survivors and service providers, the Centre aims to secure justice for female victims and survivors of male violence by undertaking strategic litigation, including intervening in appropriate cases.
3. The CWJ and its clients were assisted by Heather Williams QC, Louise Price and Angela Patrick of Doughty Street Chambers and Suzanne McKie QC of Farore Law.
4. For further comment, please contact Kate Ellis (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Nic Mainwood (email@example.com)