Lib Dem MPs submit Private Members Bills on carers and worker protection

Of the 460 MPs who entered the ballot for Private Member Bills only 20 were selected. And two of those were Lib Dems – Wendy Chamberlain and Wera Hobhouse.

Unfortunately only the top seven are guaranteed debating time so the others have to hope they can be squeezed in somewhere. Wendy was at position 10, and Wera at 15.

So we should be watching the progress of these two (quoted from Politics Home):

10. Wendy Chamberlain: Carer’s Leave Bill

The Liberal Democrat MP for North East Fife is proposing a bill to make provision about unpaid leave for employees with caring responsibilities.

Chamberlain said: “Unpaid carers are the absolute backbone of our society. According to government estimates, there are at least 2.3 million working carers who could be eligible for leave under this bill: a huge number of people who currently receive far too little support.

“This bill will help carers juggle work and care whilst supporting employers to maximise retention and wellbeing. Passing it will be a significant step forwards from all sides.”

And

15. Wera Hobhouse: Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill

This legislation – the unofficial name of which is the Protection from Workplace Harassment Bill – makes provisions about the duties of employers and protection of workers under the Equality Act 2010.

The Liberal Democrat MP for Bath said: “My winning number on the ballot was 461. I chose this because I was the 461st woman to be elected to Parliament. This encouraged me to choose an issue that will tackle violence against women and girls as harassment in the workplace is experienced by 40 per cent of women in the workforce in their career.

“This bill would shift responsibility from the individual to the institution and make employers responsible for protecting their employees. There is no place for harassment anywhere. At a minimum, sexual harassment is experienced by 40 per cent of women in the workforce. It causes various harms, and employers should be morally and legally required to take all reasonable steps to stop harassment from occurring.

“Workplace harassment has no place in our society and this bill will take steps to prevent cases of harassment.”

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames, where she is still very active with the local party, and is the Hon President of Kingston Lib Dems.

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5 Comments

  • Matt Wardman 17th Jun '22 - 9:09am

    I find this presentation very disappointing from Wera.

    We now have some data from Wera’s own workplace (Westminster), and of victims sexually harassed and / or bullied by MPs reported on after investigation by the Independent authority since the start of 2021, fully HALF are male. Of the perpetrators, one is a female front bencher, who – having had a provisional finding against her (ie subject to a further appeal) – is still firmly ensconced on the front bench.

    As far as I can see, the last 2 findings have been a young male staffer harassed by a male MP, and the same young staffer harassed by a female MP.

    Wera’s rhetoric is telling these mainly junior male staff members that they are not entitled to consider themselves victims of an offence, and are part of the problem.

    The numbers are small (12 victims reported on since early 2021 according to me, including some historic), but the underlying truth is evident; this is about human beings abusing other human beings, not about women being abused by men.

    This framing is unacceptable, and needs to stop.

  • @Matt Wardman – I allowed your comment but I think you are wrong. Wera is proposing that the responsibility should be moved away from individual employers (and employees) to the institution. This would mean some kind of HR oversight of parliamentary staff in Westminster, which they don’t have at present.
    Although Wera is taking the opportunity of focussing on the harassment of females in the workplace (which is a huge problem) as I understand it her proposals relate to male victims as well.

  • Matt Wardman 17th Jun '22 - 10:56am

    Thanks for the reply, Mary.

    I haven’t questioned the proposal – which I am sure will cover all people. I have specifically questioned the presentation / rhetoric, which I think does need to be called out.

    Wera’s decision to focus on half of the population only in her presentation is imo seriously mistaken.

  • Matt Wardman 17th Jun '22 - 12:06pm

    (To be clear – I will also be emailing Wera to raise my point directly of course, and then emailing my own MP of course with a request that he engage.)

  • Wera is a true humanitarian and has not belittled male victims in any way.

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