‘Most informative’: Boris Johnson takes part in sexual harassment training session for MPs

  • london
  • August 31, 2020
  • Comments Off on ‘Most informative’: Boris Johnson takes part in sexual harassment training session for MPs
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Boris Johnson has taken part in a training session for MPs on sexual harassment and bullying, describing it as “most informative”.

The course, called Valuing Everyone, was made compulsory for MPs and peers last year following abuse allegations and the so-called “Pestminster” scandal.

The prime minister took part in the two-hour session last Thursday with a group of MPs and peers using the Teams video-conferencing network.

Boris Johnson with his fiancee and young son. Pic: Carrie Symonds

Among the senior politicians in the group with Mr Johnson were Attorney General Suella Braverman and Treasury chief secretary Steve Barclay.

One of those on the course told Sky News: “I was quite surprised to see the prime minister taking part, given everything he has to deal with at the moment: COVID, exams and so on.

“We were all in vision during the two-hour session, so we could see him. He sat very still throughout the whole thing, barely moving, but at the end he said ‘most informative, most informative’.”

The session began with a film about a male employer who began behaving inappropriately towards a young female employee, with his behaviour getting gradually worse until he eventually sacked her.

Mr Johnson took part in the session following accusations that two of his closest allies, Home Secretary Priti Patel and controversial Downing Street aide Dominic Cummings, have bullied civil servants.

The prime minister had already arranged to take part on Thursday when a Freedom of Information request revealed last Wednesday that he was one of 159 MPs who had not done the training since it was created in May 2019.

Those 159 MPs included 140 Conservatives, seven Labour, five Democratic Unionist, four Scottish National Party, two SDLP and one independent MP.

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Responding to the FoI disclosure, a government spokesperson said: “All cabinet ministers have either taken this important course or have made arrangements to do so.

“There is no place for bullying or harassment in society and the government supports the significant progress that has already been made to bring about meaningful change in parliament, including the introduction of Valuing Everyone training.

“This is a vital part of the wider Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme and is something in which all Members of the House should participate.”