A former deputy mayor of London has said a married MP put his hand up her skirt in 2015 as Westminster battles against a series of sexual misconduct allegations.
Speaking to Sky News, Victoria Borwick, who was a Conservative MP when the alleged incident took place, explained that she did not report it because she “just got on with life”.
“You sometimes wonder whether these things are sort of testing to see how you’re going to react or what going to do about it,” she said.
Asked how she reacted, Ms Borwick added: “Well, I moved away. Even his hand wasn’t long enough.”
She said: “I mean, I suppose I could have spoken to the whips but I didn’t. I felt that whingeing is not in my nature and I think I just got on with life.”
Her story comes after Tory MP Neil Parish admitted to watching pornography in the Commons on two occasions and ultimately resigned from his position.
In recent weeks, a series of damning allegations have plagued Westminster, causing Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle to call for a review to take place into its working practices.
In his appeal for “radical” reform, Sir Lindsay suggested that individual MPs should no longer be the employers of their staff, adding that “some serious allegations have been made”.
He also said he was considering moving to an outside body employing aides.
‘Nothing is quite like working in Westminster’
Ms Borwick told Sky News she “wouldn’t be the first MP” to say that there is a “very different culture in Westminster” and she is “delighted” to hear an inquiry is set to be launched.
“The whole building does have a certain energy, but it isn’t like any working practices that I’m familiar with,” she said.
“I come from a business background. I’ve worked for a think tank, I work for charities and nothing is quite like working in Westminster.”
She explained that lines can get “very blurred” with people working long hours, sometimes “all week away from their families”.
“I can well see that if you’re a long way from home, and you’ve got a lot of tempting opportunity around you of a lot of colleagues, you get to know very closely and those that potentially work for you, the situation can be very toxic,” Ms Borwick said.
“The thing is that they’re in a bubble. I think that inevitably, perhaps boundaries are broken.”
What else has happened in Westminster?
Ms Borwick’s story is the latest in a list of serious incidents of sexual misconduct or bullying to come out of the Commons.
Last week, Labour MP Liam Byrne was found to have “ostracised” a former assistant and is now set to be suspended from the Commons for two days.
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This came after David Warburton had the Conservative whip withdrawn due to allegations of sexual harassment and cocaine use.
Former Tory MP Imran Khan resigned from his position after being convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.
A total of 56 MPs are reportedly facing claims of sexual misconduct, with at least three Cabinet ministers thought to be among those referred to the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme.