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Speaker’s Statement

Volume 648: debated on Thursday 25 October 2018

Before we come to the business question, I wish to make a few brief remarks.

I am delighted that the House of Commons Commission has decided to support fully the three main recommendations of Dame Laura Cox’s report, namely the removal of the previous complaints procedures that are considered not fit for purpose, the call for an entirely independent process to handle complaints, and the inclusion of historical allegations. I believe that this is an important first step in our root-and-branch reform of the culture of this House.

We need to create an internal movement that looks at everything and everyone, and ensures that we all treat each other with respect. We know that more than 200 people came forward to give their testimonies to help Dame Laura to form her opinions, and we owe it to each and every one of them to get this right. Specifically, I am very keen to see the establishment of an independent body to hear and adjudicate on all allegations of bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct as soon as possible. Knowing that there is a safe place—a haven—for staff and Members of Parliament to approach when things go badly wrong should send out the strongest signal yet that we are listening, we have heard, and we are willing to change.