Jo’s comments were published in Law360, 6 July 2023, and can be found here.
“The House Of Commons has retained an ‘old boys club mentality’, where female staff are subject to frequent instances of sexism and harassment and unable to effectively bring claims against individuals. The partisan environment of Westminster also allows a great deal of offensive behaviour to go unpunished.
“Many junior members in Westminster are unable to bring discrimination or harassment claims due to volunteers and interns being excluded from the protections of the Equality Act. The majority of these juniors are female. With this, the House of Commons has created itself as a ‘law unto themselves’.
“With recent high-profile scandals surrounding MPs and other members of the House of Commons, it is vital that effective and robust complaints procedures are introduced, and that the Equality Act is expanded to include interns and volunteers within its protections, as well as making misogyny an offence. Without this, it is unlikely that the predatory culture ingrained within this system will improve.”