Tory minister warns MPs to avoid 'poisonous' Parliamentary bars

Now ‘sexist’ Labour frontbencher is accused of calling woman MP a ‘secret weapon’ because men want to sleep with her – amid hunt for porn MP as Ben Wallace urges politicians to stay out of Parliament’s ‘poisonous’ bars

  • Ben Wallace has advised MPs to stay out of Parliament bars to avoid culture
  • Uproar at sexism and sleaze at Westminster after claim Tory seen watching porn 
  • Labour frontbencher accused of telling female MP men wanted to bed them

A Labour frontbencher told a woman MP that they were a ‘secret weapon’ because men wanted to sleep with them, it was claimed today.

The female politician – who wants to remain anonymous – was allegedly subjected to the lewd remark at an event in Westminster.

The episode surfaced as an investigation was launched into claims that a Tory MP was seen watching porn on their phone in the Commons.  

And a Cabinet minister has urged male MPs to stay out of Parliament’s ‘poisonous’ drinking dens amid growing uproar at sexism and sleaze at Westminster.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the long hours and access to alcohol had been a problem for many years, and his advice to colleagues was ‘finish your day’s work and go home’.

In the latest grim claims, a woman MP told BBC Wales that when someone praised her as a ‘rising star’ of her party at an event, the unnamed shadow cabinet minister intervened. 

They apparently said she was a ‘secret weapon’ because ‘women want to be her friend’ and men wanted to sleep with her.

‘She is a vote winner,’ they reportedly added.

A Labour spokeswoman said: ‘The Labour Party takes all complaints extremely seriously. 

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the long hours and access to alcohol had been a problem for many years, and his advice to colleagues was ‘finish your day’s work and go home’

Mr Wallace pointed to the handful of exclusive bars on the Parliamentary estate, where drinks are much cheaper than outside, with a pint of beer costing around £3.60. File picture of Strangers Bar in the Commons

‘They are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures, and any appropriate action is taken.’

It is understood that no complaint has been received, and BBC Wales said the woman did not want to be identified for fear of consequences. 

Labour has recently introduced a new independent complaints procedure to boost confidence, and is encouraging people to come forward.

In a round of interviews this morning, Mr Wallace said ‘there’s no place for pornography in any workplace’ and said there needs to be a cultural change in Westminster.

He pointed to the handful of exclusive bars on the Parliamentary estate, where drinks are much cheaper than outside, with a pint of beer costing around £3.60.

Mr Wallace told Times Radio that there were ‘fights’, ‘sexist comments’ and ‘propositions’ in the bars. 

‘What I have witnessed is, what I think is the fundamental problem of Westminster, is the overall culture is that hundreds and hundreds of people (are) working long hours in a place with bars,’ he said.

‘And for some people, under lots of pressure for all sorts of reasons. And that… mix becomes poisonous.’ 

Mr Wallace said the problems had been ‘going on for decades’ and were ‘not easy to fix’. 

‘I mean, my advice to any MP is actually avoid the bars, you know, finish a day’s work and go home. 

‘But you know, that is part of the ultimate challenge around parliament that I think needs to be fixed. 

‘And you know, in the Armed Forces, I have a similar challenge, which is often in those high pressure environments where people mix and then alcohol is consumed, you end up in a place where people do things, either they regret, or things that is totally unacceptable.’ 

The Defence Secretary told Sky News: ‘There is a range of allegations that go right across the House, go right across the parties.

‘This is a problem, I think, about the overall culture of the House of Commons.

‘It is late sitting, long nights with bars, and that very often leads, and it has done for decades, to behavioural challenges…

‘I think it’s really important that we think about ways to change the culture in the House of Commons’.

The Conservative Party’s chief whip has ordered an official investigation into claims that an MP was watching porn on his mobile phone in the House of Commons Chamber.

A spokesman said the matter would be referred to Parliament’s independent complaints and grievance scheme (ICGS).

Mr Wallace told Times Radio that there were ‘fights’, ‘sexist comments’ and ‘propositions’ in the Parliamentary bars

‘Following allegations of inappropriate behaviour in the House of Commons the Chief Whip has asked that this matter be referred to the ICGS.

‘Upon the conclusion of any ICGS investigation the Chief Whip will take appropriate action.’  

Those reported to the body are given automatic anonymity, meaning the Tory MP’s name will not be published while he is under investigation.

Only witnesses are able to make complaints to the scheme.

The body is said to be investigating at least 56 MPs – including three ministers and two shadow ministers – who have been accused of sexual misconduct.

Two female MPs say they witnessed their colleague looking at adult images more than once.

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