UK’s May sets out rules for her party on harassment, bullying

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minster Theresa May published on Friday a code of conduct for all her lawmakers and party officials to follow, the latest step in her response to growing allegations of improper conduct in parliament.

Britain’s parliament is the latest institution to become embroiled in a sex scandal after abuse allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein prompted thousands of women and men to share stories about improper behavior.

On Wednesday, defense minister Michael Fallon resigned saying his past conduct had fallen below the required standard, costing May a trusted ally in a fragile minority government and underlining her political vulnerability to further allegations.

On Friday, she set out the code of conduct on the Conservative Party website, detailing standards expected of elected and appointed party members, the procedure for breaches of those standards and the party’s definitions of discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and bullying.

“This code sets out for the first time in one place the procedure which the party uses in dealing with complaints, along with a number of additional measures which we have introduced in light of recent allegations,” May said in a letter to the speaker of parliament’s lower chamber.

In the letter, May said parliament also needed to take more responsibility for protecting workers within the system, repeating her call for a common, transparent and independent grievance procedure for all at Westminster.

May said she would meet other party leaders on Monday to discuss a separate proposal for a non-political way to handle complaints in parliament.

(Reporting by William James; editing by Stephen Addison)