Implications of the Dame Laura Cox report for the House’s standards system: Initial proposals Contents

Responses to the Cox report

31.The House of Commons Commission, with its senior external member Jane McCall in the chair, discussed the Cox report at its meeting on 24 October.

32.The Commission announced after its meeting that it had agreed to the Cox report’s three “fundamental recommendations”.33 It added:

It is now up to the House to take forward these recommendations to which we are fully committed. We would expect to see them progressed as quickly as possible.

33.The Commission announced that it had directed the Commons Executive Board “to produce a timely and resourced action plan [for tackling bullying and harassment] in conjunction with a wide range of stakeholders”.

34.The Commission added that:

These are first steps. These changes should not be limited to House staff but must encompass the whole parliamentary community. In time, it may become clear that further changes are needed.

35.A general debate on the Cox report was held in the House on 5 November 2018. During this debate the Leader of the House said the findings of the Cox report were “shocking”, noted that the House of Commons commission had agreed in full Dame Laura’s three key recommendations and had commissioned an action plan from the Executive Board. She added that she not only welcomed Dame Laura’s “specific recommendations for urgent change, but her broader conclusions about accountability and leadership in this place”. She also said that:

As her hard-hitting report recognises, the House of Commons has fallen woefully short in supporting and protecting its staff. It has failed the people who work here. The fact that some of those in positions of power or authority have bullied, intimidated and harassed those who work alongside them and perpetuated a culture where that behaviour is not only tolerated but comes to be expected by members of staff as “the norm” is outrageous. There is no place for abuse or harassment in Parliament. That applies to everyone, without exception.34

33 See Appendix for full text of recent statements by the Commission.

34 Official Report, 5 November 2018, cols 1277, 1280, 1283

Published: 10 December 2018