Prime Minister Theresa May has called allegations of sexual harassment in Westminster “deeply concerning”, and said she would take “serious action” against any MP found to have behaved inappropriately.
The comments from Number 10 followed a report in today's The Sun newspaper, which claimed female researchers and aides in Parliament were using a secret Whatsapp messaging group to warn each other of MPs who made unwanted advances.
Named in the group were reportedly senior politicians from both the Labour and Conservative parties, including a groping Cabinet minister, a Tory grandee banned from hiring “leggy” women and a Labour MP who behaved inappropriately with a woman while on a foreign trip.
“Any reports of sexual harassment are deeply concerning,” said a Number 10 spokeswoman.
“The Prime Minister was very clear when we responded to the reports about Harvey Weinstein in the last few weeks that any unwanted sexual behaviour is completely unacceptable, and that is true in any walk of life – including politics.
“Any allegations that may come to light will be taken extremely seriously and we would advise people to contact the police if there is such an allegation so that it's fully investigated.”
However, Downing Street said it was not aware of any allegations having been formally reported.
The Sun said sources expected at least one name to emerge into the public realm by the end of the week, and predicted that resignations would follow.
A House of Commons spokesman said that parliamentary authorities have a limited ability to intervene in allegations of bullying and harassment “as MPs are self-employed and employ their staff directly”.
But he added there was a 24-hour helpline which affected people could call to raise their concerns.