UK Parliament
Channel 4 explained that none of the workers would speak on camera because they feared doing so would hinder their political careers Reuters

The UK parliament faces a new sex scandal as a shock report revealed that a third of staff at Westminster has been sexually harassed at work

According to research from Channel 4 News and Firecrest Films, who questioned 70 people from all political parties, more than two in ten (21%) said they had witnessed some else being sexually harassed or that a friend had confided in them.

But the study also revealed that almost half (46%) of the respondents said they had no first or second-hand knowledge of such behaviour.

Channel 4 explained that none of the workers would speak on camera because they feared doing so would hinder their political careers.

But anonymous staff member alleged that he was "asked to go to the gents by a certain MP who had always been a nice guy" at an event for young political activists.

The investigation also revealed that young men are more likely to get harassed than women.

Some 40% of men had received unwanted sexual advances, according to the study.

The Conservative Party has asked their MPs to sign a new voluntary code of conduct while it plans to introduce a grievance procedure for workers.

A Conservative Party spokesman said: "The code of conduct acts as a basic statement of what should be best practice in the workplace for Conservative Members and their staff.

"It explains the rights and responsibilities which are expected of both the employer and the employee."

The spokesman explained that all future complaints will be dealt with through a three stage process of mediation, grievance hearing and appeal."

The revelations come after the former deputy speaker of the House of Commons Nigel Evans was cleared of a string of sex abuse charges.

The House of Commons' speaker John Bercow released the following statement in response to the report:

"Bullying or harassment at work is completely unacceptable.

"People are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect as they carry out their work. The experience of working in Parliament for an MP should be positive and fulfilling. Time and again, people have told me how fortunate they feel to work here. That said, having learned for the first time this afternoon of these allegations, I will consider if there are lessons for the House of Commons to learn or procedures to be reformed.

"MPs are self-employed and employ their staff directly. The House, therefore, is limited in its ability to intervene in cases in which allegations of bullying or harassment by MPs of their staff are concerned. These cases are clearly a matter for the political parties.

"However, I take the welfare of those who work in and visit our Parliament very seriously. The House does offer personnel advice to MPs. Workplace Equality Networks on LGBT, gender, disability, and race and cultural heritage have been set up as part of the House of Commons Diversity and Inclusion Scheme, which I have strongly supported. In addition, having listened to representations by members of staff, I have taken steps to ensure that a confidential phone-line is set-up.

"These are steps in the right direction in modernising the culture of the House of Commons."