Labour women MPs have hit out at “disappointing” plans agreed by party leaders to introduce new safeguards for parliamentary staff following Westminster sleaze allegations.
Prime Minister Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and their counterparts from smaller parties decided on a new grievance procedure that is expected to be in place next year.
An existing complaints hotline will be upgraded to a face-to-face human resources service by the end of the month.
But Labour MPs who have led the campaign to crackdown on sexual abuse and harassment said the reforms did not go far enough.
Jess Phillips said: “Find this utterly disappointing. Great a grievance procedure, the victims will be thrilled. What if they don’t work in Parliament?
“What about sanctions, what about specialist support from actual professionals who know what they are talking about on sexual violence/harassment.
“So if you don’t work in Parliament and an MP assaults you, or MP’s staff does. How will this help?”
Stella Creasy said: “Still much work to do making parliament safe if this only comes into place in a year and only covers MP staff.”
Mrs May said the reforms were an “important step forward” in tackling abuses of power.
She said: “I think if this hasn’t happened to you it’s difficult to appreciate the impact that being a victim of this sort of behaviour can have, it simply has a lasting impact on people.
“And we need to do more to stop these abuses of power and I’m pleased that having convened this meeting of party leaders today we have agreed a way forward.
“We are going to ensure that there’s an upgrade to the existing phone line for staff so that staff in future will be able to get face-to-face HR support and for that to be in place by the end of the month.
“And we’ve also agreed that we need a completely new grievance procedure for staff working here, for everybody working here, and that that should come into effect in the New Year.”