Labor shares a list of 20 alleged ‘sex pests’ on WhatsApp

Labor MP Charlotte Nichols (UK Parliament)

Labor MP Charlotte Nichols (UK Parliament)

A Labor MP has shared with colleagues in a WhatsApp group a list of 20 Westminster figures who are allegedly “sexual pests”.

Charlotte Nichols shared with some associates a list of names of people allegedly accused of sexual harassment – later claiming she could not be a “witness”.

Some of the MPs on the list had previously been accused of sexual misconduct, but at least one Tory MP who had not been previously charged was included, according to Mail on Sunday.

The move sparked anger among MPs, with one saying it was “blatantly irresponsible” and urging her to report any specific claims to the police or parliamentary authorities.

Ms Nichols told the newspaper that the list was shared “out of context”, did not contain any specific allegations and said she deleted a message sent to a specific WhatsApp group by mistake.

But the MP also took to Twitter to defend the decision to release the list – saying she could not “legally make a third party report” to either Parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievances Scheme (ICGS) or the police.

“Isn’t it my job to warn others about behavior that I’ve seen or experienced or that people have told me so many times that it is a clear pattern of behavior?” Warrington North MP tweeted.

Ms Nichols said: “I am many things, but the observer is not one, and while Westminster is as gloomy as it is, I will not pretend otherwise.

Backbencher added: “What is REALLY irresponsible is the lack of real action to address sexual harassment in Westminster, which is so endemic that other MPs and staff need to be alerted to the behavior of some colleagues to keep them safe! I wish it weren’t so, but for now it is. And here we are.”

One senior Labor official told the Mail: “If you think you have evidence that X, Y or Z is a wrong ‘un’, that’s enough. But you can’t just give names.

Ms Nichols said in November that Westminster had a “whispering network list” of around 40 politicians to avoid.

The MP, who entered parliament in 2019, said she had been told to avoid being alone with these politicians, adding that some were known for “bullying or sexual misconduct”.

Responding to criticism of the deleted WhatsApp list on Twitter, she said: “the fact is that I somehow did something wrong by sending this message, not the ones I’ve been warned about many times … I’m saying they’re looking at the problem from the wrong side !”

House of Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle recently defended the ICGS system set up in 2018 to deal with claims of bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct, despite criticism that the process is too slow.

He told the BBC he believed parliament was still a safe working environment for young men and women – despite a series of allegations of sexual assault and abuse against MPs.

“I really believe that, and if not, we’re going to chase [MPs] and make sure those who don’t play follow the rules,” he said.

“I always said something serious, please go to the police – don’t even think about anything else, that would always be my advice,” he said. “And I always tell House pass holders, my door is open. If you have problems… come to me.”

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