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Parliament’s ‘Pestminster’ scandal deepened last night amid claims that a senior Tory MP pestered a female staff member for ‘sexual favours’.

The Mail on Sunday understands the claims were so serious that party bosses were advised to take them ‘straight to the police’.

There were also claims that another MP offered a member of his staff a taxpayer-funded pay rise but only on condition that part of the increase came to him.

Sources said that claim was in a ‘dossier of shame’ against MPs compiled by a Commons staffer. This paper understands the damning charge sheet details more than 90 accusations from sexual harassment to bribery.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle acknowledged the scale of the crisis yesterday by launching an urgent review that could lead to MPs being stripped of the right to employ their own staff to stop intimidation and harassment.

The Mail on Sundays understands the damning charge sheet against MPs in the House of Commons details more than 90 accusations, ranging from sexual harassment to bribery

The Mail on Sundays understands the damning charge sheet against MPs in the House of Commons details more than 90 accusations, ranging from sexual harassment to bribery

The Mail on Sundays understands the damning charge sheet against MPs in the House of Commons details more than 90 accusations, ranging from sexual harassment to bribery

The ‘Pestminster’ scandal, which first broke in 2017, was revived last week after reports that three members of the Cabinet and two of Sir Keir Starmer’s (above left during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons) top team were facing sexual misconduct allegations

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle (above) launched an urgent review that could lead to MPs being stripped of the right to employ their own staff to stop intimidation and harassment

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle (above) launched an urgent review that could lead to MPs being stripped of the right to employ their own staff to stop intimidation and harassment

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle (above) launched an urgent review that could lead to MPs being stripped of the right to employ their own staff to stop intimidation and harassment

Sources said that a ‘dossier of shame’ against MPs had been compiled by a House of Commons staffer

Sources said that a ‘dossier of shame’ against MPs had been compiled by a House of Commons staffer

Sources said that a ‘dossier of shame’ against MPs had been compiled by a House of Commons staffer

Instead, the workers would be employed either by the Commons directly or by the parliamentary expenses authority IPSA.

Unveiling a special ‘Speaker’s Conference’ on the issue, Sir Lindsay said: ‘I take recent allegations of bullying and sexual impropriety very seriously, which is why it is time we reviewed our working practices, particularly whether it is right that individual MPs are the employers of their staff.’

This would be resisted by many MPs who insist they must know their staff are loyal to them above all – not to an outside employer.

The ‘Pestminster’ scandal, which first broke in 2017, was revived last week after reports that three members of the Cabinet and two of Sir Keir Starmer’s top team were facing sexual misconduct allegations.

They were said to be among 56 MPs and 70 complaints overall referred to Parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS), set up in 2018.

Neil Parish MP, pictured here with Chancellor Rishi Sunak, is the chair of the Commons' Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee. He resigned his position as MP yesterday after being caught watching porn in Parliament

Neil Parish MP, pictured here with Chancellor Rishi Sunak, is the chair of the Commons' Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee. He resigned his position as MP yesterday after being caught watching porn in Parliament

Neil Parish MP, pictured here with Chancellor Rishi Sunak, is the chair of the Commons’ Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee. He resigned his position as MP yesterday after being caught watching porn in Parliament

The ICGS has refused to ‘confirm or deny any current investigations’. But ICGS director Jo Willows wrote privately to all MPs, saying there were only 15 ‘cases’ against MPs for bullying, harassment or sexual misconduct in the 12 months to June 2021 and that it was a ‘similar’ trend so far this year.

However, Commons sources confirmed the existence of a separate list of complaints against at least 60 individual MPs.

Jenny Symmons, of the GMB union branch for MPs’ staff, said: ‘The only way to get to the root of the problem is to stop MPs directly employing their staff. It is clear many complaints by staff are withdrawn because they understandably fear they will lose their jobs.’

Source: Daily Mail

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