- Labour MP John Mann asks Damian Green to apologise to victims of sexual harassment.
- The first secretary of state did not apologise but said complaints procedures need to be strengthened.
- Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry tackles Green over the NHS.
LONDON – Damian Green was asked to apologise to victims of sexual harassment that “parliament and government have been letting down,” at prime minister’s questions.
The first secretary of state was asked on Wednesday by Labour MP John Mann to condemn sexual harassment, following recent allegations of misconduct against numerous parliamentary staff.
Mann’s question came as Green remains under investigation for allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards a female Conservative activist, as well as claims that he had pornography on his parliamentary computers.
“Does he agree with me that the government and parliament need to lead by example?” – Mann asked, continuing: “Will he, on behalf of the government apologise to the victims who parliament and government have been letting down?”
Green said: “I absolutely agree that both this place as an institution and all of the political parties need to improve complaints procedures and other aspects of the culture of politics to make sure that young men or young women who are interested in politics do not in any way feel deterred from playing an active role in it.
“There is a place for everyone in this house on all sides and in all parties, and indeed the house authorities themselves of making sure that this is the best possible working environment for young people to come into.”
Green stood in for Theresa May at PMQs despite the investigation into his inappropriate behaviour being unresolved, while Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry stood in for her leader Jeremy Corbyn.
On Wednesday the Evening Standard reported that the female activist who alleged Green acted inappropriately towards her claimed she was “offered” a job at the same time as he made sexual advances towards her.
Watch Damian Green being asked to condemn sexual harassment in Westminster
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Labour’s Thornberry accused the government of “fiddling away whilst the rest of the country burns,” after announcing only £350 million for the NHS in last week’s Budget while giving £3 billion for Brexit contingency planning.
She asked: “What are you doing to our NHS? It’s happening on your own doorstep? Isn’t it about time the First Secretary got a grip?”
This followed Thornberry telling MPs that “His [Green’s] local A&E have ‘severe staff shortages in medical and nursing care, means patient safety is being put at risk and the only option to tackle those shortages is to cancel outpatient clinics’.”
Green responded that she “is determined to talk the NHS down, it’s a Conservative government that is increasing funding for the NHS so it remains the best in the world.”