Labour to reveal plan to restore trust in Westminster and stop harassment

Katie Neame

Labour’s Lucy Powell will pledge that the party is “prepared to do the hard yards” to restore trust in politics and outline plans to tackle abuse and harassment in parliament, accusing the Tories of having “downgraded and degraded” Westminster.

In a speech to the Institute for Government on Tuesday, the Shadow Leader of the House of Commons will outline three “important and early areas for action” to restore politics and parliament. Officials say she will set out plans including:

  • “Rebuilding trust and accountability: making sure MPs spend their time and energy on delivering for their constituents; moving on from ‘sleaze’ and restoring respect for parliament;
  • “Doing government and legislation better: looking at how Labour can apply genuine scrutiny and stress-testing to legislation to deliver Labour’s five missions and achieve better outcomes; taking legislating seriously and exploring how to make the role of backbench MPs more impactful;
  • “Improving parliament’s culture: enhancing and embedding employment practices, tackling abuse and harassment in parliament, making parliament a better and safer workplace with further action on exclusions and complaints; considering how parliament can better reflect our diverse country.”

It comes just after an independent review into parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS), set up to tackle an alleged culture of bullying and harassment in Westminster, said it was “making a difference”.

It recommended parties refer relevant cases to the body as their own complaints processes are widely seen as “incapable” of timely, transparent action.

Powell is expected to say in her speech that “all parties have a responsibility to ensure good conduct, standards and culture when governing and legislating to sustain and secure our democracy”.

“Yet after 14 years of Conservative government, the public are sick to the back teeth of the Westminster soap opera they have created. We’ve seen parliament downgraded and degraded, with trust in politics at an all-time low,” she will add.

The Labour frontbencher will continue: “No one is suggesting an easy fix – turning the page on public perceptions of politics and parliament will require hard work, but Labour is prepared to do the hard yards.

“This is serious work for a serious party of government that is serious about governing better and delivering for the public. Labour values parliament as a vital institution in our country, which we will respect.

“We will restore trust in politics by showing the public that we can get things done, striving to end the Westminster drama with better government, higher standards and more accountability putting politics back to service and parliament back to work for the British public.”

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