Theresa May
Theresa May set up a new group to tackle complaints. Reuters

New proposals could allow MPs accused of sexual harassment to be let off if they apologise or take an online training course.

Theresa May created a group to to produce a new complaints system, the draft report of which was leaked. In it, measures include learning modules on bullying and a human resources service for parliament where MPs are responsible to hiring their own staff, The Times reported.

In addition to these were suggestions of a specialist sexual harassment helpline staffed by experts, an independent figure to investigate allegations such as a lawyer and a committee to consult on sanctions.

At the end of November Dr Helen Mott, a sexual violence specialist, offered a cross party group of MPs specific guidance relating to rape and harassment, The Telegraph reported. The hope was that this group would then form the Independent Complaints and Grievance Policy chaired by chaired by the Leader of the House, Andrea Leadsom.

Jess Phillips, a Labour MP who has campaigned for victims of sexual harassment, said: "I totally understand why people would be disappointed. For the people who have come forward and spoken up at the moment, it still seems like the establishment protects the perpetrators."

Sarah Green, director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, who gave evidence to MPs, said: "After a couple of months now of really serious allegations in Westminster and beyond, it's still saying we need to take months longer to decide exactly what the process should be. It's also not clear that the decision-making power about who did what to whom, and why it matters, is being removed from the political parties and that's what we actually need . . . I think we could have got further than this."

May formed the group following numerous allegations of sexual harassment in Westminster. While several cabinet members and MPs are still under investigations, assorted claims led to the departures of Sir Michael Fallon, the defence secretary, and Damian Green, the cabinet office minister.