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MPs could be kicked out if found guilty of harassment, Rudd suggests

The Home Secretary said the end result of the spate of claims about inappropriate behaviour will be positive.

MPs found guilty of sexual harassment could be kicked out of the Commons under a tough new crackdown, Home Secretary Amber Rudd has signalled.

Ms Rudd predicted the wave of sleaze allegations sweeping Westminster would lead to a positive “clear-out” which would leave Parliament and the Government in better shape.

The Home Secretary said she wanted the sanction of sacking MPs to be considered as part of a major overhaul of anti-harassment procedures at Westminster.

She told Sky News: “I think that that is one of the things that I would encourage the review to look at. It may be the case, it may not.

“It is wrong for us to have a knee-jerk reaction based on the past week. I think what we need to do is look at the whole issue. There needs to be a procedure put in place as soon as possible.”

Jane Merrick alleged the incident took place after a lunch when she was a 29-year-old junior political reporter (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The Home Secretary said Westminster was undergoing a “watershed moment”.

Her comments came as it emerged three more Tory MPs are to have allegations against them looked into by officials.

Ms Rudd described as “disgusting” an incident in which former defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon is alleged to have lunged at a journalist and tried to kiss her on the lips.

The comments came after Jane Merrick alleged in The Observer that the incident took place after a 2003 lunch when she was a 29-year-old junior political reporter.

Asked if such behaviour was disgusting, Ms Rudd told Sky News: “Completely disgusting. Absolutely wrong. And it was right that he has stepped down.”

Ms Merrick contacted Downing Street about her claims just hours before Sir Michael’s shock resignation.

Ms Rudd insisted the end result of the spate of claims about inappropriate behaviour that has rocked politics will be positive.

The Home Secretary told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “I think it is something that will take place in terms of clearing out Westminster of that sort of behaviour.

“And I think that Westminster afterwards, including the Government, will be better for it.”

Sir Michael Fallon has stepped down as defence secretary (Peter Byrne/PA)

The remarks came as it emerged that Tory former Cabinet minister Stephen Crabb has been referred for investigation under the party’s new code of conduct.

Tory former health minister Dan Poulter has also been referred to his party’s disciplinary committee over concerns about his behaviour, along with fellow MP Daniel Kawczynski.

Meanwhile, the Mail on Sunday reported that Tory whip Chris Pincher had been accused of making an unwanted pass at former Olympic rower and Conservative activist Alex Story.

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