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Leaked survey reveals scale of Westminster harassment

The leak comes ahead of the publication of a cross-party working group’s report on Thursday.

Almost a fifth of people working at Westminster experienced or witnessed sexual harassment or inappropriate behaviour in the last 12 months, according to a leaked survey.

The scale of the problem is laid bare in the findings of a report commissioned by MPs as part of the response to allegations about the culture within Parliament.

The survey, obtained by the Independent website, is due to be published on Thursday alongside the recommendations of a cross-party working group which has examined the problems faced by politicians, aides and parliamentary staff.

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Andrea Leadsom has promised tough sanctions to tackle sexual harassment (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom, who chairs the working group, has insisted MPs found to have bullied or abused staff will face “real sanctions” under a new grievance procedure.

Punishments could include being suspended from Parliament and constituents already have the power to effectively sack their MP in some circumstances using recall powers.

But others close to the group have expressed concerns its report will not go far enough to tackle the problem.

A source told the Independent: “You have a situation where 19%, almost a fifth of people, complaining that they have experienced or witnessed sexual harassment or inappropriate sexual behaviour here, versus the fact that the present respect policy has never had a complaint about sexual harassment.”

The parliament-wide survey of 1,377 workers found 39% of staff, MPs and peers had experienced bullying and harassment of some sort while on the estate, the website reported.

Of those suffering bullying or harassment, 45% were women and 35% were male.

A spokesman for the Commons Leader’s office said: “We don’t comment on leaked reports.”

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