Those behind bullying and harassment in Westminster should face sanctions, the House of Commons Clerk has said as he announced he will stand down.
Sir David Natzler will leave his position as Parliament’s most senior legal and constitutional adviser in March.
He used his resignation letter to call on those behind bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct to “acknowledge past failings” and said he himself had done so.
An inquiry by Dame Laura Cox into Westminster’s bullying culture lifted the lid on a toxic environment fuelled by ready access to alcohol.
Natzler says Parliament can move on if the culprits accept their guilt.
His statement was read out by Speaker John Bercow, who has himself faced calls to resign over allegations he bullied two former officials, which he denies.
Natzler said it had been “a turbulent four years” during his tenure as Commons clerk, adding: “The last 12 months have of course seen the surfacing in different ways of the complex issue of bullying and harassment and sexual misconduct in the parliamentary community.
“I am confident that we can deal with it if we all acknowledge past failings, as I readily do, and move beyond concerns about process to reach a place where, quite simply, everybody in the community treats everybody else with respect and dignity and where, if they do not, they are called out and, if necessary, sanctioned.”
One former Commons staffer told HuffPost UK Bercow called her a “little girl” because he was unable to find an envelope he was looking for.
A spokesperson, however, said the Speaker had “absolutely no recollection” of the alleged incident.
Natzler told MPs in October that there had always been a “subculture” of bullying in Parliament and that “unresolved and serious issues” from the past continue to “poison the well”.
Dozens of serving and former clerks and other officials – along with several MPs –…