Prospect accuses Rees-Mogg of taking Parliament back in time

Prospect has accused Jacob Rees-Mogg of taking Parliament back in time as MPs today debate whether or not to accept recommendations from Dame Laura Cox for a process to deal independently with bullying or harassment complaints against MPs.

The union says the proposal, opposed by the Leader of the House despite the vast majority of respondents to a consultation on the measures saying that doing so would detract from the supposed independence of the process, is is one in a series of actions which demonstrate Rees-Mogg wishes to assert the primacy of members over staff, and government over members.

It says it goes against the spirit of the Cox report, which argued that the hierarchical structures and culture within the Commons were one of the factors leading to MPs and other senior staff getting away with unacceptable behaviour including bullying and harassment.

Other examples include:

  • Postponing a full decant of Parliament so that vital repairs and restoration can be completed. The result is that staff will have to continue working in an unsafe environment.
  • Forcing an unnecessary and premature end to the hybrid operation of the House of Commons.
  • The unconstitutional prorogation of Parliament.

Prospect deputy general secretary Garry Graham said: “The Leader of the House is traditionally meant to be the government’s voice in Parliament and Parliament’s voice in the government – clearly however Jacob Rees-Mogg feels that only the former applies to him.

“It demeans the House of Commons for it to be used for grubby self-justification from those accused of mistreatment of colleagues. MPs have a platform to put across their side of the story if they want to – it shouldn’t be built into the system that they do it in the Chamber.

“This seems like a system designed to discourage staff who have been bullied from speaking out, where the alleged perpetrator has the chance to defend themselves in the Commons, while the victim is forced to watch on TV.

“This government and the Leader of the House seem intent on undermining the progress that has been made in recent months and taking us back in time to an age where parliament and its staff are subservient to their every whim.”

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