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Indian-origin MP accuses British PM of sexual abuse cover-up

IANS | London |

An Indian-origin MP has accused British Prime Minister Theresa May of failing to act when she was tipped about a Westminster sexual abuse cover-up three years ago.

Labour Party’s Lisa Nandy made the allegation in a dramatic confrontation during the Prime Minister’s presence in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

She claimed she brought evidence to May three years ago when the latter was Home Secretary but no action was taken, the Independent reported.

“Three years ago, I brought evidence to her in this House that Whips had used information about sexual abuse to demand loyalty from MPs,” Nandy told the Commons.

“I brought that information to her in this House and warned her at the time that unless real action was taken, we risk repeating those injustices again.

“On three occasions, I asked her to act and on three occasions she did not. So can I ask her, in this of all weeks, for the fourth time, will she finally take concrete action to tackle this?”

According to Commons records, Nandy raised the issue twice in 2014 in the chamber and then in a written question.

Following her question in Parliament, the Wigan MP tweeted an extract of her exchange with May on the matter, dating from July 2014.

It revealed that Nandy had told May that in the mid-1990s, a senior long-serving ex-Whip said the whips’ office “routinely helped MPs with scandals” including those “involving small boys” in a bid to exert control and prevent problems for the government.

Replying to the claim, May said: “I will of course look back at the questions that she has said that she raised with me in this House.”

Nandy’s claim came amid a deepening scandal over sexual abuse in Parliament with Westminster staffers coming forward to make allegations of harassment, misconduct, assault and rape.

The Tories hit the headlines in last few weeks with Minister Mark Garnier admitting he sent his secretary to buy sex toys. May’s deputy Damian Green was accused of making advances on a younger writer.

Labour MP Jared O’Mara was suspended last week because of sexist remarks made online. Senior activist Bex Bailey claimed she had been raped and discouraged from reporting the incident by senior Labour officials.

More claims of harassment in Parliament emerged as a spreadsheet was leaked containing a list of 36 Tory MPs, including some ministers, who had been accused of misconduct.