A Labour MP might just have ruined Theresa May’s career. Because she has shown unequivocally that May knew about claims that whips were using sex abuse scandals to control MPs three years ago.
Lisa Nandy raised the issue with the PM when she was Home Secretary in 2014. She asked her to look into allegations that not only did whips help MPs who were involved in sexual abuse scandals, they did so to:
exert control over those individuals and prevent problems for the government.
In answer to the question, May responded:
We need to learn lessons to ensure that the systems we have in place are able to identify that and deal with it appropriately.
But three years later, it appears that lessons haven’t been learned.
You can read the exchange here:
Given the recent sexual abuse allegations engulfing Westminster, Nandy raised the question again at Prime Minister’s Questions. She stated:
But can I say to her that, three years ago, I brought evidence to her in this House that whips had used information about sexual abuse to demand loyalty from MPs… I warned her at the time that, unless real action was taken, we risked repeating those injustices again today.
Nandy then pointed out that she had asked May to act on three occasions. She continued:
So can I ask her, in this of all weeks, for the fourth time, will she finally take concrete action to tackle this?
May appeared to be somewhat lost for words. She insisted that allegations of a criminal nature should be taken to the police and not the whips’ offices. And then she issued somewhat incoherent platitudes:
I will look at the questions that raised she with me, but I’m very clear that we will take action against those where there are allegations that we see, and the evidence is there that there has been misconduct.
You can watch the full exchange here:
Action, what action?
Nandy’s comments prove that May knew about the issues three years ago; and that, according to Nandy, she raised the matter three times. It is therefore difficult to believe May’s assertions that action will now be taken.
Not only should this exchange be the end of the beleaguered PM, with so many MPs implicated in this scandal, it should be the end of the Conservative government.
– Support organisations like the Rape & Sexual Abuse Support Centre, The Survivors Trust, and Victim Support. And for more information on dealing with sexual abuse, see here.
– Join the White Ribbon Campaign; which aims to “educate and raise awareness of violence against women, and to engage men in these issues”.
– Have conversations with the women and men in your life; and refuse to tolerate misogyny in your communities and workplaces. This starts and ends with us.
– Support The Canary so we can keep holding the powerful to account.
Featured image via screengrab