Could Westminster's abuse scandal be more damaging than MPs' expenses?

With sexual abuse and harassment claims set to continue, could this inflict more damage on politicians than the MPs' expenses scandal in 2009? Or will politicians play party politics to stop more revelations surfacing?

There seems a real air of change about society at the moment. Those, the powerful, who once got away with crude and unprofessional behaviour at work, are now quaking in their boots that they’re next to be caught out. 

The wave of sexual abuse claims from the Harvey Weinstein scandal in the acting world, are now cropping up in the corridors of power, at Westminster. 

Deep within Parliament it seems a culture of sexual harassment and bullying has been overlooked and brushed aside to the detriment of many people’s welfare and careers.

But maybe Parliament, which has seemingly hidden this status quo of sexual inappropriateness for so long, is now on the verge of a political earthquake not seen for years. 

Worse than the MPs’ expenses scandal?

On Monday The Daily Telegraph led with an article titled, Westminster sex scandal could be worse than MPs’ expenses, Tories fear. 

And maybe the broadsheet is right, with Theresa May’s trusted ally the Defence Secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, resigning on Wednesday after saying he’d “fallen below the high standards that we require.” 

Mr Fallon’s resignation followed accusations that the First Secretary of State, Damien Green had made inappropriate advances to a female activist. And on top of this, a list has been drawn up by Parliamentary staff, of Ministers who’d acted improperly towards them.

The question now of course is, who’s next after Mr Fallon?

Losing allies. 

Undoubtedly this could spell catastrophe for the Tories. Their wafer-thin administration, propped up by the DUP, won’t survive more revelations about sleaze from Ministers or Cabinet Members.

They we’re already on incredibly shaky ground and it is a party of so many sides. No more so than the Brexit Leavers versus the Remainers. 

If more harassment scandals emerge then Mrs May could lose the allies she so desperately relies on for her vision for Brexit.  

So maybe The Telegraph is indeed right. This could in fact be far, far worse than MPs’ expenses. Maybe even the biggest scandal to bring down the government in modern times. 

Not just the Tories though.

But of course this is not a one party issue. Labour politicians and those of other parties are also embroiled. 

On Thursday night, Labour’s Kelvin Hopkins was suspended from the party after being alleged of sexual harassment. 

Bex Bailey, a former Labour activist, spoke on Tuesday’s Radio 4 PM show about how she was told to drop allegations of rape by a Labour official as it would “harm her career.” 

This widespread, unprofessional misconduct is certainly not one-sided and Theresa May said in the Commons on Wednesday that she wanted to meet with the other party leaders to discuss how to tackle this issue.

Party politics at play?

Being a cross-party matter, it is indeed up to all sides to uproot such behaviour. But the problem is, will members resort to playing party politics?

The fact that I spent most of the above discussing how this could be hugely damaging to the government, undermines the seriousness of the abuse suffered by many people. 

And this is a huge risk to justice. With the Tories already so weak, they could take the approach that if we bury our heads in the sand and stop more revelations emerging, then we may just ride the storm. 

The same could be said of Labour. If they can contain the sexual abuse accusations on their side and let Tory allegations continue, then it certainly favours them politically. 

Morals will out?

That is why we so desperately need politicians to maintain a sense of moral judgement here.

On Monday, with Theresa May sitting behind her, Commons Leader, Andrea Leadsom said that Minsters could be sacked if they are found to have committed unacceptable behaviour.

And of course it seems Mrs May is prepared to stick to her commitment by allowing such a strong ally in Michael Fallon, to resign. 

But if this scandal continues and more Cabinet Members are found to have committed sexual misconduct, with such a teetering administration, will the PM remove them from office, no what matter the consequence is to her politically?

Maybe in this case morals will out, rather than political agendas.



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