The UK Prime Minister Theresa May has unveiled a code of conduct for her governing Conservative Party. This after the Weinstein effect moved to parliament and helped push the beleaguered leader even closer to the exit.
May outlined the new procedures for dealing with allegations on Friday as more claims emerged after Michael Fallon (above) resigned as defense secretary on Wednesday.
May replaced Fallon on Thursday with chief whip Gavin Williamson, losing a trusted ally in a fragile minority government and adding to the sense that her government is walking on very short legs.
The Conservatives will adopt a new complaints procedure with a hotline for reporting potential breaches. The code applies to the party's elected representatives, from MPs to local councillors and city mayors and party officers at all levels.
May said she will also meet the leaders of other parties on Monday to come up with a cross-party approach, saying it was not right that "vulnerable or concerned people" could be left to "navigate different grievance procedures."
"There needs to be a common, transparent, independent grievance procedure for all those working in parliament who wish to raise concerns which provides clarity and certainty about how their concerns will be dealt with," May said.
The opposition Labour Party suspended MP Kelvin Hopkins, 76, pending an inquiry into claims he sent suggestive texts and acted inappropriately. Hopkins said he "absolutely and categorically" denied the allegations of inappropriate conduct.
The Weinstein effect
May's announcement follows the flood of sexual assault and harassment claims against Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
Those revelations prompted allegations of inappropriate behavior in Westminster - with several allegations of misuse of power surfacing.
The fall guy: Fallon goes
Fallon admitted touching radio presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer's knee 15 years ago. The Sun newspaper reported on Friday that Fallon's resignation was in fact connected to complaints against him by Cabinet colleague Andrea Leadsom.
There are reports that dozens of members may be guilty of sexual harassment.
The Guido Fawkes political website on Monday claimed that Conservative Party aides had compiled a spreadsheet identifying 36 party MPs, including two Cabinet members, accused of inappropriate behavior.
Last weekend, May asked the Cabinet Office to investigate whether International Trade Minister Mark Garnier had breached the ministerial code of conduct by asking his secretary to buy sex toys for him.
Allegations against US film producer Harvey Weinstein have opened the floodgates in several sectors and in the political world
Dredging the swamp
There are also longstanding allegations of a cover-up involving several inquiries into alleged child abuse and murder.
One of these is a probe into a VIP child abuse ring conducted as part of Operation Fairbank, which was launched after the Labour MP Tom Watson made claims in parliament in 2012 about a child sex abuse gang with senior political connections.
Another operation, Fernbridge, was examining claims of a network of abusers, again including senior politicians, using a former guesthouse in Barnes, London, in the 1970s and 1980s.
It has also been claimed that a dossier on those involved in the above allegations given to a Tory cabinet minister by the late Conservative MP Geoffrey Dickens disappeared.
Then interior minister, May said in 2012 that there was no evidence the documents had been deliberately destroyed. She said claims of a cover up were "not proven."
Peter McKelvie, a former child protection manager, has claimed that some 20 prominent figures, including ex-MPs and government ministers, abused children "for decades."
Britain's police watchdog said in August it will investigate allegations that detectives failed to pursue a complaint of child sexual abuse made against former Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath in the 1990s.
Britain's police watchdog has said it will investigate allegations that detectives failed to pursue a complaint of child sexual abuse made against former Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath in the 1990s
jbh/bw (Reuters, AFP)