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UK sex pest MPs, peers face expulsion

Former British deputy Prime Minister Damian Green and Kate Maltby

London: An official report recommending the ultimate sanction of expelling an MP or peer found guilty of sexual harassment has been welcomed by the woman whose allegations brought about the downfall of Theresa May's once powerful deputy Prime Minister, Damian Green.

Kate Maltby, 31, who triggered a Cabinet Office inquiry after she had alleged Green, 62, had "fleetingly" touched her knees in a pub meeting in 2015, was commenting on an in-depth report published on Thursday by a cross-party working group chaired by Leader of the Commons Andrea Leadsom.

Maltby told BBC Radio 4: "This working group is clearly a step in the right direction...(But) I am pretty concerned about anonymity for those accused."

Unveiling the report, Leadsom said: "This is a big day for parliament and our politics. The new independent procedure will demonstrate that we want to be the best parliament in the world when it comes to treating everyone who works here with dignity and respect.

"This is a major step in bringing about the culture change that parliament needs."Shadow leader of the Commons Valerie Vaz (younger sister of MP Keith Vaz) responded: "Labour will be advocating that relevant bodies do their utmost to ensure the group's recommendations are put into place as a matter of urgency."

The report discovered sexual harassment or bullying is rife - a survey of 1,377 parliamentary workers found that almost one in five (19 per cent) said they had experienced or witnessed sexual harassment or inappropriate behaviour over the past year with twice as many female as male complainants.

The report recommends the creation of a procedure for complaints and grievances "independent from the political parties".

It advocates "confidentiality and fairness to those who have a complaint brought against them".

It calls for a toughening of the existing codes of conduct. to reflect a new parliament-wide "Behaviour Code", which should be binding on to all those working in parliament.

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