'We shouldn't have to tolerate this!' - Labour's Thangam Debbonaire commits to sleaze crackdown
Thangam Debbonaire said more work still needed to be done to make Westminster a safer place to work
THE Shadow Leader of the House of Commons has pledged to crackdown on sleaze and try to raise standards of MPs behaviour if Labour wins power.
Thangam Debbonaire said more work still needed to be done to make Westminster a safer place to work.
Speaking exclusively to Gloria De Piero on GB News, the Labour MP said: “If I do ever get to be Leader of the House in Government, one of the things I really want to change is setting an example in saying we should expect the highest standards of behaviour from our representatives.
“We shouldn't have to tolerate the sort of wrongdoing that puts people in fear, that makes people fearful at work. And that is still happening in Parliament.
“It's not most MPs. There are 650 of us. But it's too many. When there's one, there's one too many. We shouldn't expect that from any MP. I think we should have high standards, and I want to strengthen those.
"I want to make sure that we can actually deal with people who are treating their staff or members of the public or another MP badly in a really strong way.”
Debbonaire said she uses her experiences as a domestic violence expert to help gain a better understanding of why people end up becoming abusers.
Appearing on Gloria Meets she continued: “Before I came to Parliament I worked with violent people and some of them were sexually violent, some of them were physically violent, and mostly were both. And so from that professional experience that taught me that how usually, not always, but it usually happens from a feeling of entitlement.
“It comes from a feeling that you are allowed to do certain things, that you've got the power and you're going to get away with it. I think that is changing in Parliament because those under investigation have been suspended from the party whips.
“Some of them are not able to come into Parliament or have certain restrictions placed on them. And we have a system there. When I first came to Parliament there was no system.
"We do now have something called the Independent Complaints and Grievance System. I suspect it's a confidential system, but I wouldn't be surprised if some of those MP's weren't going through an investigation in that.”
Debbonaire also suggested power was often being abused.
She said: “Power can be a really useful thing as an MP. As a politician you can have power to do things, to do good things, to make people's lives better. That's the sort of power I'm interested in.
“I think there are Members of Parliament and people at the top of other professions who confuse the two, and get into the idea of having power over people and that culture of deference.
"Unfortunately those few people who come with an attitude of entitlement will get that built up as a result of this. And what you have to do is make sure there are clear rules, clear consequences and real leadership which says we will not put up with it
“I think we've got good rules. Could they be stronger? Yes, I'm sure. I'm of the view that you should only ever strengthen the code of conduct for MP's. It should only ever get stronger and more effective.”
On the abuse MPs often receive while doing their job she said: “My experience of being an MP is that most of my constituents are absolutely lovely. Most of the time I do feel very safe, but there is abuse of MPs and we have lost two colleagues since I've become an MP, the wonderful Jo Cox and David Amess.
“I wanted to think after Jo was murdered this will never happen again. And then it did. We cannot let those people who want to frighten us stop us from doing our jobs because democracy really matters.
“I wouldn't want to have a political system where I could only go out with security guards. There are countries where that's the only way MP's can move around. I go to the same shops as my constituents. I go to the same GP surgery. I get to chat to people, people tell me their problems as I'm on the way to buy a pint of milk. That really, really matters to me.
"And I've got to just trust that there's enough respect even when people disagree. That's easy for me to say. Because it's a it's a while since I last had a really serious threat. And I know a lot of people, particularly women colleagues, have had a lot worse.”
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