Three Conservative cabinet ministers and two Labor shadow cabinet ministers were reported to have been reported to a parliamentary watchdog that deals with complaints against MPs.
Three members of Boris Johnson’s team and two of Sir Keir Starmer’s team face allegations of sexual misconduct, according to The Sunday Times.
They are among 56 MPs who have been referred to the Independent Complaints and Complaints Scheme (ICGS) in relation to some 70 separate complaints, it reported.
The allegations range from making sexually inappropriate comments to more serious offences, the newspaper said, with at least one complaint believed to involve offenses and an allegation that an MP “bribed a member of staff in exchange for sexual favours”.
The ICGS was created as an independent, cross-party process in 2018 after the so-called Pestminster scandal, which highlighted sexual harassment in the halls and corridors of power.
It operates a hotline that allows those working in Westminster, including parliamentary staff and colleagues, to call in to make a complaint or seek advice.
It exists to allow workers to report experiences of bullying, harassment, and sexual misconduct. They may also report witnessing or being aware of such behavior.
According to the body’s 2021 annual report, the service had been used by people claiming to be parliamentarians.
In a statement on its website, ICGS director Jo Willows said the service is an “important step forward in tackling inappropriate behavior in our workplace.”
Reports made to ICGS are private and confidential and political parties do not receive information about who has been reported.
A union representing senior civil servants said more needed to be done to stamp out harassment in Parliament.
FDA Secretary General Dave Penman said, “While some of the complaint procedures have improved, the fundamental balance of power between parliamentarians and the staff they employ has not.
“Where it exists, it will inevitably be exploited, either by those without the skills to manage staff effectively, or by those with more malevolent intentions.
“It is hardly surprising, therefore, that if the circumstances that allowed bullying and harassment to flourish have not fundamentally changed, what we are seeing is this number of complaints being filed now that we at least have an independent mechanism to deal with them. .
“Parliamentary authorities must address the root causes of bullying and harassment, rather than simply relying on an enforcement mechanism that only protects those who feel capable of making complaints.”
Penman said that meant “taking another look at the employment relationship between MPs and staff”, with a view to reforming the model of having 650 individual employers.
He said authorities should consider establishing a new employment model that “will help protect staff while maintaining the level of service MPs need to support their vital work.”
A government spokesman said: “We take all allegations of this nature incredibly seriously and would encourage anyone with a complaint to come forward with the relevant authorities.”
Downing Street and Labor said they could not comment.
Additional report by PA