Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield admits ‘there are lots of rumours’ of sexual harassment around Westminster
PUBLISHED: 11:28 31 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:33 31 October 2017
She claimed she hadn’t witnessed any specific cases since being elected but that “there are always stories”
Kent’s newest MP has admitted there are “lots of rumours” of women being sexually harassed around the Houses of Parliament.
Rosie Duffield was elected Labour MP for Canterbury back in June and claimed she hadn’t witnessed any specific cases during her four months in Westminster, but that “there are always stories”.
It comes after Sevenoaks MP and defence secretary Michael Fallon this week apologised for putting his hand on a female journalist’s knee in an incident back in 2002.
Ms Duffield said: “There are always stories. I’ve only been here a few months, and I don’t know personally that it’s any worse than any other workplace I’ve been in.
“Every woman I know my age will have encountered some kind of harassment from very low level to something more troubling, and there are lots of rumours around here.
“I know people have been affected by things and I hope it does all get flushed out and dealt with in the right way.
“There are certain things people say and you think ‘that’s not very appropriate’ but I hope people are learning a lesson and looking at themselves and realising they’re going to be held to account.
“It’s important staff at all levels feel safe and that they’re going to be taken seriously and there’s support. It’s one thing being an MP, but if you work in a department, or for an MP, you should be able to speak out.”
Allegations have dominated the news agenda in recent days, ever since it emerged Labour MP for Sheffield Hallam Jared O’Mara historically made sexist and transphobic comments online and called a woman he dated an “ugly bitch”.
He has subsequently been suspended by the party and is facing an investigation.
Ms Duffield said: “I can’t line up with any of what he said. It’s a real shame and we can’t condone that.
“Jared was right to apologise and I hope he’ll think very carefully about what’s happened. We should be pro-LGBT right and pro-equality, and if we’re not, we need to answer it.
“We’re now all having everything we’ve ever said looked through. We’re also human and I worry about young people and everything they’ve ever said or put on social media being scrutinised like that.
“We need to work out what we want from our public figures. It’s a difficult issue.”