Disabled MP Jared O’Mara has pointed out a fact that should embarrass every MP who has ever complained about being abused by the public, while indulging in the worst possible behaviour in the House of Commons.
Here’s John Pring of Disability News Service to explain:
A newly-elected disabled MP is calling for action to address the bullying and harassment he has witnessed in the House of Commons, in a bid to introduce a new culture of “decorum and professionalism” into parliament.
Jared O’Mara… is calling on the House of Commons to draw up a policy on bullying and harassment by MPs, and to carry out a regular access audit of the parliamentary estate.
He said he… had been affected by the comments and “jeering” directed against male MPs who have taken advantage of new rules allowing them not to wear ties.
The new rules are believed to have been introduced by the Commons speaker, John Bercow, after O’Mara made it clear he was unable to wear a buttoned shirt and tie because of his impairment.
O’Mara said that comments made by the transport minister, John Hayes, who warned that he would refuse to take interventions from any male MPs who were not wearing ties, had made him feel “really upset and uncomfortable”.
He said he had taken these comments as “harassment”, even though they were not directed at him.
He said he was also disturbed by the general “heckling and shouting” at fellow MPs that takes place in the Commons chamber during debates.
[A] House of Commons spokeswoman said: “The House has limited jurisdiction over MPs as it is not their employer.
“The political parties and the whips also have responsibility for ensuring that their MPs act according to these rules, and are likely to have policies outlining how they do this.
“Should an MP have a concern about bullying or harassment, they are able to write to the speaker, approach the commissioner for standards or speak to their party whips.”
Recently, MPs – particularly on the Conservative benches – have complained very loudly about what they consider abuse by members of the public during the general election campaign.
They have come unstuck time and time again, when it was revealed that they themselves – or their colleagues – have been responsible for abusive behaviour as well.
Here‘s an example.
And here‘s another.
If you want one more, here it is.
Now, Mr O’Mara has come forward to say the way MPs behave in the Commons chamber is not acceptable – and he is absolutely right.
Every week, in Prime Minister’s Questions, we see members – on both sides of the House – divesting themselves of every shred of decorum; yelling and screeching at each other until the Speaker has to intervene, usually with a far more witty put-down than anything they could have devised.
What sort of example does this set?
What are these MPs telling the voters they have accused of harassment?
They can hardly complain about abusive behaviour by others when they are on the record – visually – as having carried out the same.
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