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  1. ITV Report

Party leaders agree new procedures to tackle abuse in Westminster

  • Video report by ITV News political correspondent Carl Dinnen

Theresa May has met with Jeremy Corbyn and other party leaders at the House of Commons to reach agreement on new Parliament-wide anti-harassment procedures.

The meeting follows a spate of revelations and allegations involving MP over the past few days, which have led to calls for action to ensure Westminster is a safe place to work.

The prime minister said the leaders have agreed to introduce a new grievance procedure for parliamentary staff and face-to-face human resources support, in what she called an "important step forward".

The latter will be in place at the end of the month, while the former should come into effect in the new year, she added.

Speaking after the meeting in her parliamentary office, May said more needs to be done to stop abuse, and she was "pleased that having convened this meeting of party leaders today we have agreed a way forward".

I think an important step forward has been taken today, it's important that we get this right, and I'm sorry that we have seen these abuses of power - too many taking place over too many years. And the fact that they have taken place here at our seat of democracy should be a matter of shame for us all.

– Theresa May

Earlier today May gave a speech to business leaders in London, saying the revelations over the past weeks have been "deeply troubling", admitting that parties "have not always got this right in the past". She told the CBI conference she wanted a new common, robust and independent grievance procedure for people working in Parliament.

"We need to establish a new culture of respect at the centre of our public life," she said.

Credit: PA

Jeremy Corbyn told told the conference the issue goes beyond the walls of Westminster.

The Labour party has proposed management training for MPs and an independent parliamentary authority for complaints.

The Tories have already announced a new party code of conduct.

Among a number of claims against Conservative MPs, Chris Pincher on Sunday "voluntarily stood down" from the Whips' Office and referred himself to the party's complaints procedure and the police following allegations over his behaviour.

Sir Michael Fallon stepped down as defence secretary on Wednesday Credit: PA

On Wednesday Michael Fallon resigned as defence secretary, after he admitted his own behaviour had "fallen below the high standards required" by his role.

The Lib Dems today said they had suspended a party member and referred allegations to the police.

Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins has "absolutely and categorically" denied claims of inappropriate behaviour made against him by party activist Ava Etemadzadeh.

On Friday another Labour MP, Clive Lewis, denied an allegation that he groped a woman at the party's annual conference,