15 October 2018

Dame Laura Cox has published a report on bullying and sexual harassment among House of Commons staff, following an independent investigation. It describes how 'bullying, harassment and sexual harassment have been able to thrive and have long been tolerated and concealed' in 'a culture, cascading from the top down, of deference, subservience, acquiescence and silence.'

Fawcett Chief Executive Sam Smethers said:

"This comprehensive, damning report reveals that the culture of Westminster needs nothing short of transformational change. The toxic combination of a macho public school-style institution combined with political power and a culture of secrecy has left women unprotected and perpetrators free to ensure this culture persists unchecked.

"This is our 21st century democracy but it is woefully lacking. In the year we mark 100 years of first votes for women and the centenary of women standing for parliament we demand urgent change."

Read the full report here, and read a statement from the House of Commons Executive Board in response to the report here.

Dame Laura Cox chaired The Fawcett Society's Sex Discrimination Law Review earlier this year. The Review concluded that urgent and fundamental reform is needed to make the law fit for the 21st century. Read the full report here.