British Prime Minister Theresa May says lawmakers must embrace a “new culture of respect” in the wake of the Westminster sexual harassment scandal.
May, who is set to meet fellow party leaders to discuss new safeguards and procedures for reporting harassment in parliament on Monday, said there was much work to be done.
Speaking at the CBI Conference in London, May said: “People should be able to work in an atmosphere where they feel safe. Political parties have not always got this right.”
“We need to establish a new culture of respect at the center of our public life,” she said. “One in which everyone can feel confident that they are working in a safe and secure environment, where complaints can be brought forward without prejudice and victims know that those complaints will be investigated properly.”
She added: “This isn’t about prying into private lives. What we are talking about is the use and abuse of power.”
Several lawmakers from across the political spectrum are under investigation after facing allegations they behaved improperly.
On Saturday, May’s de facto deputy, Damian Green denied allegations that “extreme” pornographic material was found on his work computer in 2008.
Green said the story, which was first reported in The Sunday Times, was “completely untrue and comes from a tainted and untrustworthy source.”
Green is also set to be interviewed as part of a Cabinet Office inquiry into allegations made by journalist Kate Maltby that he made unwanted advances towards her during a meeting in 2015. Green said the allegations were “completely untrue” and “deeply hurtful” in a statement Wednesday.
May is also still recovering from the loss of her Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, who resigned on Wednesday.
Journalist Jane Merrick, who is a contributor to CNN, revealed that Fallon lunged at her and attempted to kiss her on the lips after a lunch meeting in 2003.
Fallon quit the day after admitting he had touched the knee of journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer at a conference dinner 15 years ago.
Merrick, who was 29 at the time, wrote in the Observer that she felt “humiliated, ashamed.”
“What has been revealed over the last few weeks has been deeply troubling – and has understandably led to significant public unease,” May added.
“Women and men should be able to work free from the threat or fear of harassment, bullying or intimidation.”