Dame Laura Cox report exposes bullying and harassment in parliament

A judge-led inquiry has today laid bare the culture of bullying and harassment at the heart of Parliament.

Dame Laura Cox says Parliament has a culture of 'deference, subservience, acquiescence and silence' and that a 'seismic shift' is needed to finally end it.

She said those who have been subjected to abuse have been met with a lack of support and a 'cover-up' culture. 

In comments that will be seen as pointing the finger at Commons Speaker John Bercow, she blasted the 'institutional failings' of the current parliamentary regime.

She added: 'I find it difficult to envisage how the necessary changes can be successfully delivered, and the confidence of the staff restored, under the current senior House administration.' 

Mr Bercow has faced widespread calls to quit the post after he was accused of bullying several members of his staff.

Dame Laura - who refused to give any names in her report - also warned that some MPs have a reputation for being 'serial offenders' who are well known bullies.

And she warned that Parliament has such a woeful reputation for tackling the abuse that many members of staff have fundamentally lost faith in the system altogether. 

Labour MP John Mann, who helped expose the sexual harassment and bullying in the corridors of power, called for all MPs to be named and shamed.

Dame Laura Cox said there is a culture of bullying and harassment in parliament (pictured) a nd says those who have been subjected to abuse have been met with a lack of support and a 'cover-up' culture

Dame Laura Cox said there is a culture of bullying and harassment in parliament (pictured) a nd says those who have been subjected to abuse have been met with a lack of support and a 'cover-up' culture

The regime overseen by Commons Speaker John Bercow (pictured in Parliament in July) is hammered in the report as Dame Laura Cox blasted the 'institutional failings' in Parliament

The regime overseen by Commons Speaker John Bercow (pictured in Parliament in July) is hammered in the report as Dame Laura Cox blasted the 'institutional failings' in Parliament

The government has brought in a new code of conduct in a desperate scramble to try to tackle the abuse which has rocked Parliament, but it has been slammed for containing a loophole which means historic allegations cannot be probed.

But Dame Laura demanded an overhaul so so that old complaints can be investigated.

In an extraordinary and strongly-worded report, Dame Laura said: 'I have also referred throughout this report to systemic or institutional failings and to a collective ethos in the House that has, over the years, enabled the underlying culture to develop and to persist. 

'Within this culture, there are a number of individuals who are regarded as bearing some personal responsibility for the criticisms made, and whose continued presence is viewed as unlikely to facilitate the necessary changes, but whom it would also be wrong for me to name, having regard to the terms of reference for this inquiry. I hope, however, that the findings in this report will enable a period of reflection in that respect in addition.' 

She said the reputation of MPs and parliament 'is being damaged by the allegations of unacceptable behaviour made against some of their number and by the inadequacy of the procedures in place to deal with complaints'.

What are the claims of bullying and bad behaviour made against John Bercow?

John Bercow has been hit by a number of bullying claims, all of which he denies. Here are the allegations:  

Andrew Sinclair, the

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