David Davis harrassed Diane Abbott in parliament last night – we should take it seriously

The Brexit secretary tried to kiss Abbott, then 'walked off laughing'


It’s well-known that sexual harassment is part of the fabric of Westminster, with it’s late-sitting hours, lack of normal professional oversight and numerous on-site bars.

And while junior staff members are thought to be most vulnerable, the most senior women on the estate are by no means exempt, as an incident reported last night shows.

This morning, the story has been treated as a joke by several outlets, or at least as a harmless piece of political gossip.

It’s not harmless.

This was a senior member of the government engaging in behaviour that violates basic workplace ethics, confident that he could harrass a senior member of the shadow cabinet with impunity.

His behaviour is offensive and disrespectful to Abbott — who has repeatedly been a target for sexism and racism — but it also raises serious questions about Davis’s attitude to women generally, and his treatment of younger, more vulnerable women he encounters.

For those young women, who put up with sexism for fear of losing out professionally if they complain, the message this gives is that there’s no level of success that will shield them from the lecherous and powerful men of Westminster.

One of parliament’s longest sitting members? Doesn’t matter. Shadowing on of the great offices of state? Doesn’t matter. There will always be someone who’s willing to humiliate you then ‘walk off laughing’.

In yesterday’s debate, Conservative MPs were outraged to hear Jess Phillips criticising the Tories’ record on inequality, and jumped to defend their supposedly feminist prime minister.

If Theresa May wants to prove her commitment to women’s rights, she should start by getting her own house in order.

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7 Responses to “David Davis harrassed Diane Abbott in parliament last night – we should take it seriously”

  1. Stan

    Davis sounds totally out of order. Again. But we do also need to discuss Corbyn’s pathetic surrender over Brexit. This funny piece on Corbyn trying to understand what Brexit actually means puts it better than I ever could http://www.thesparkmagazine.co.uk/uk/jeremy-corbyn-starts-wondering-what-brexit-is/

  2. John Reid

    Remember when Diane Abbott went up to some cops in parliament 15 years ago, saying Blunkett was going to sack them as revenge for the miners strike, and she was told off, or when she said all white people were racist, when door keepers told her kid off who was misbehaving at parliament

    No ,neither do I

  3. Renee Hamptons

    Actually, Stan, Corbyn’s behaviour is irrelevant to this article. I see that you’re trying to use this as a platform to promote your own website, but all we need to talk about here is the fact that Davis sexually harassed a colleague in public – and ask what May is going to do about it.

    As Niamh says, the Tories are trying to portray themselves as the feminist party. Let’s see some feminism from their front bench.

  4. Martyn Wood-Bevan

    Pointless statement about Jeremy Corbyn, who understands Brexit better than most. If the Tories are hoisted by their own petard then sobeit. He has been very intelligent on things so far.

  5. Brian Davies

    This is really serious…..get it shared….men can’t be allowed to get away with this sort of thing.

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