“A senior Tory MP asked me if I was on Tinder” says UK’s youngest MP

With Lucy Marley Journalist ,
and Alpha Kamara Video Journalist

Nadia Whittome has called Parliament “institutionally sexist" and demanded a “complete cultural change".

Nadia Whittome has called Parliament “institutionally sexist" and demanded a “complete cultural change".
Labour’s Nadia, who is 26 and currently the youngest MP, has spoken of her own experience with sexual harassment in Parliament. 
When she was 19 and doing work experience in Parliament, “a very senior Tory MP asked me if I was on Tinder” and she says “even now that I’m working here as an MP, colleagues regularly talk to my chest instead of my face.” 
He is still a serving MP.

“It’s just not taken seriously enough”

Parliament’s independent complaints report stated there were 15 cases against MPs for both bullying & harassment and/or sexual misconduct, from July 2020 to June 2021.

Harassment in Parliament

The government has been under pressure to address sexual harassment in the workplace. 
In July, Chris Pincher (previously a senior member of Boris Johnson’s team) resigned from government after allegations he groped two men at a private members’ club. 
And Sky News recently reported in September on sexual allegations against people in Boris Johnson’s previous government. 
The allegations were made against one person who served as a senior politician and another official who worked in the Prime Minister's London headquarters. 
One woman claims the man involved was “feeding her wine” despite her "being obviously drunk" and when she requested to go to bed “he didn’t leave me alone”. 
After some initial conversations with the police about what happened she decided not to proceed any further and did not make a formal complaint to the Conservative Party. 
Meanwhile another woman says she was groped by someone working in Number 10. 
She formally complained to the office which is responsible for Number 10 (the Cabinet Office) but says it was dismissed. 
A Houses of Commons spokesperson said: “Bullying, harassment and sexual harassment have absolutely no place in Parliament”
And the behaviour code “makes clear the standards of behaviour expected of everyone in Parliament.” We want to ensure that everyone working here feels able to report such instances.”
“We know that at present there are still barriers to this happening - and that there is still work to be done to ensure that everyone is treated with the respect and dignity they deserve."
And a Conservative spokesperson said: "We have an established code of conduct and complaints procedure where people can report complaints in confidence. We take any complaint seriously."

Who can help?

Sexual harassment can be a one-off incident or an ongoing pattern of behaviour.
It can happen in person or in other ways, for example online through things like email, social media or messaging tools.
If you’ve been harassed at work you can check your workplace grievance policy to find out how to raise a formal complaint. 
Acas has this page to help on harassment in the work place. 
And if you want to know more about this topic, watch our full report on The Story of Why Women Don’t Feel Safe here.