The sexual harassment accusations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein prompted people in other spheres to speak up about cases of sexual misconduct and now the scandal is sweeping Westminster.
The Conservative Party revealed a new code of conduct on Friday amid claims of abuse and harassment by party members that have been circulating in and around the parliament lately.
A dossier with the names of 40 Conservative lawmakers and ministers alongside notes of alleged inappropriate behavior has been shared among members of parliament, their staff, and some journalists in the last week.
The new code, posted to the Conservatives’ website, urges party members to “take reasonable steps to ensure that people who wish to raise concerns about bullying, discrimination, harassment and/or victimisation by others feel able to do so, and know how to follow the complaints procedure set out in this Code.”
The code also sets out a procedure for the investigation of a complaint with a hotline for reports of the breaches. Moreover, a special panel, appointed by the chairman, is expected to include “at least one independent person.”
According to the code, elected or appointed party officials have to “act with honesty and probity” so as to uphold “the reputation and values of the Conservative Party” and not to use their position “to bully, abuse, victimise, harass or unlawfully discriminate against others.”
The Labour Party has also launched a probe into allegations of two of its MPs and made an attempt of adopting a special complaints procedure, albeit without an independent body for the investigation of the cases.
On Monday, Theresa May is going to meet Jeremy Corbyn as well as other opposition party leaders in order to discuss the possibility of introducing a new grievance system in the UK Parliament.
The scandal began with the resignation of the UK Secretary of State for Defense Michael Fallon, who has faced allegations of inappropriate behavior toward a journalist. He apologized for touching the journalist’s knee and stepped down from his post, saying that his conduct had “fallen below the high standards” of the armed forces in the past. However, speculations appeared that it was not the real reason behind his resignation and there were some other allegations unknown at the time of his retirement.