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Westminster scandal: May launches conduct code

All Conservative elected officials and their staff will be f..

All Conservative elected officials and their staff will be forced to sign up to a new code of conduct, as the Westminster sex scandal continues to unfold.

Everyone from MPs to councillors will have to follow the new rules, revealed in a letter from Theresa May to Commons Speaker John Bercow.

Mrs May declared there needed to be a "serious, swift, cross-party response" to allegations of sexual harassment against MPs.

But she added the Tories had taken HR and legal advice to create a new rulebook for the party itself, which is now mandatory rather than voluntary.

:: A week in Westminster: Sex scandal timeline

Image:Mrs May announced the code update in a letter to John Bercow

Among the changes are:

:: An independent person sitting on complaint review panels
:: A new hotline created to report breaches of the code
:: A new complaints procedure

The code will be officially passed by the party board later this month.

Mrs May wrote: "The Government – and the Conservative party – believe that 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, and the support they will receive."

:: Corbyn silent on his promotion of suspended MP

:: Minister's 'lewd comment list' forced Fallon out

:: Labour suspends politician over allegations

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It comes ahead of a meeting of party leaders in Westminster on Monday afternoon, to discuss a collective response to the scandal engulfing Parliament.

Mrs May, Jeremy Corbyn, Vince Cable and Ian Blackford are among those invited to the talks.

Earlier this week, House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom warned fellow MPs: "I am setting the bar significantly below criminal activity.

"If people are made to feel uncomfortable then that is not correct.

"In terms of the consequences for the perpetrators, I think I have also been perfectly clear: in the case of staff they could forfeit their job, in the case of MPs, they could have the whip withdrawn and they could be fired from ministerial office."

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