Vince’s email to party members: Lib Dems will work across parties to stamp out sexual harassment

As the Sunday papers are published this morning, there are yet more disturbing stories about sexual harassment in Westminster, in Holyrood, and in politics more widely.

Harassment of this kind is absolutely unacceptable under any circumstances, and Liberal Democrats will work across parties to stamp it out.

I want to see a political system in which everyone is represented, and political institutions – from Parliament down to every local authority – that reflect the society they serve. It is absolutely crucial to this ambition that everyone feels they are in a safe and professional environment when they get involved, stand for political office and get elected.

Likewise, the dedicated staff who work in politics at every level must be able to speak out if politicians abuse their positions of power.

Our Party put in place new procedures in 2014, which ensure anyone who has a complaint in the Liberal Democrats can approach our independent Pastoral Care Officer, Jeanne Tarrant (who can be contacted by email or or via our website).

Our Party President, Sal Brinton, has this morning put an article on Liberal Democrat Voice (which you can read here) to explain this in more detail.

We take very seriously any allegation of misconduct, bullying, intimidation or harassment, and have a robust process in place to deal with such behaviour.

As a member of our party, I hope you would always come forward to Jeanne if there is an issue you want to report. She provides a sensitive and confidential space to raise a complaint and will ensure it is addressed effectively.

On Monday, I will meet the Prime Minister and other party leaders at Downing Street, to discuss how we ensure past abuses are not repeated. I will recommend that the other parties adopt similar processes to our own, and also listen for what we can learn from elsewhere.

Additionally, I support the development of a non-partisan route by which abuse can be reported directly to the parliamentary authorities. Plainly, where any form of assault has taken place, these should also be reported to the police immediately.

Thank you for being a member of the Liberal Democrats and for all you do to promote our cause.

I will do all that I can, across party lines, to ensure politics is a place where everyone can get on and make a difference for their community and for our country.

With best wishes,

Vince

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