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'Great deal of work needed' to stop bullying in the House of Lords, admits speaker

Members of the House of Lords have been found to have subjected staff to harassment and bullying. Credit: PA

There is "still a great deal of work to do" in order to stop bullying in the House of Lords, its speaker has admitted following the publishing of an inquiry report.

The comments, made by Lord Fowler, come after an inquiry, commissioned in 2018, found that staff have been subjected to bullying and harassment by members of the Lords.

The investigation by Naomi Ellenbogen QC stated: "Staff have bullied and harassed other staff. Members have bullied and harassed staff."

It added: "The prevailing culture and behaviours in the House of Lords, as a place of work, have not been conducive to an open and supportive culture to ensure that all those working there are treated with dignity and respect.

The report also found staff subject to bullying and harassment have generally not complained about the situation because they thought nothing would happen, an inquiry has found.

Employees who experienced abuse also declined to make an issue of it because they feared reprisals, the report said.

Lord Fowler has admitted there is 'a great deal of work to do'. Credit: PA

Ms Ellenbogen said cultural issues in the House of Lords have enabled this kind of behaviour to "flourish over a sustained period" and she called for "root and branch reforms".

The report made 19 recommendations, which include installing CCTV, proving peers with high-quality training and appointing a director general.

In response to the report, the Lord Speaker, Lord Fowler, speaking as Chairman of the House of Lords Commission and on its behalf, said the report's findings had been taken into consideration.

He said: "Everyone deserves a workplace which has high standards of behaviour and mutual respect.

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"Bullying and harassment have no place in the House of Lords.

"This report is an important step in ensuring we, the Commission, and the House of Lords Administration, can work together to achieve that goal."

He added: "We have already made important improvements including introducing a Parliament-wide Behaviour Code, an Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme and appointing a new Conduct Committee to which lay members will be appointed shortly, but there is still a great deal of work to do."