Tory leadership race: New prime minister must deal with 'toxic culture' as Scottish parties list their demands
Mike Clancy, general secretary of Prospect, a trade union representing civil servants and parliamentary staff, said he hoped either Rishi Sunak or Liz Truss would address issues of inappropriate behaviour and sexual abuse in the corridors of power once they are sworn in as the new prime minister.
The call for a renewed focus on cleaning up Westminster comes after revelations of the experiences of two women, who allege they had been assaulted by a Cabinet minister and groped by a No. 10 aide.
Political parties north of the border have also issued a list of demands for the incoming prime minister, with the Scottish Liberal Democrats calling on the new Conservative leader to stamp out the stain of cronyism and dishonesty from a reassembled Cabinet.
Both the Lib Dems and Labour have also urged Boris Johnson’s replacement to extend the windfall tax on oil and gas giants.
Labour shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray said the focus of the new PM must be on addressing the cost-of-living crisis.
“From day one, the Prime Minister’s focus needs to be on taking the action we urgently need, starting by extending the windfall tax on oil and gas giants and stopping this disastrous price hike,” he said.
“However, I haven’t seen a shred of evidence that this failing Tory Government have the ability or the will to help us through this crisis, which is why we need a general election and a fresh start with a Labour Government.”
Addressing claims of a ‘toxic’ culture at Westminster, Mr Clancy said: “Sophisticated employers have processes and procedures to ensure that the rights of victims, [and] those [who] are the subject of complaints, are properly handled.
“Now we have a new prime minister, potentially from Monday, and this is an opportunity to reset the culture and show the leadership that hasn’t been there in the past.
“And I’m hoping that the new prime minister will be able to clean this up and deal with a toxic culture.”
Mr Clancy suggested there was allowance of an “exceptionalism of Parliament”, but said the “highest standards” should apply to MPs.
Conservative former minister John Redwood told broadcasters that sexual misconduct “should not happen” in Westminster.
“And there have to be proper complaints procedures, as there are, which should be followed rigorously and soundly, to get to the bottom of the truth of allegations,” he said.
It has been reported that one woman had been “sexually assaulted by someone who is now a Cabinet minister”.
A second woman said she was working at a Conservative event when she was groped, adding: “I turned around and this guy was just looking right at me.”
Responding to the allegations about a Cabinet minister, a Government spokesman said: “We take allegations of misconduct extremely seriously and there are robust procedures in place to raise concerns. All ministerial appointments also follow established processes.”
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