Sleaze allegations at Westminster and Holyrood risk making politics a "toxic workplace" for women, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has warned.

She said that events of the last few weeks, which have seen government ministers north and south of the border resign over their previous behaviour, may deter women from running for elected office.

Ms Davidson said all parties must do more to get more females into politics - as she admitted the Tories are "behind the curve" despite having had two female prime ministers.

Loading article content

READ MORE: Former SNP minister Mark McDonald admits causing woman "considerable distress"

The Scottish Conservative leader has led a Tory revival north of the border, with her party now second to the SNP in terms of the number of MSPs it has at Holyrood and the number of Scottish MPs at Westminster.

While the Tories have a record 31 MSPs in the Scottish Parliament, just seven of them are women.

Ms Davidson argued, however, that having a "more balanced politics" could help bring about a "more balanced culture, one where sexual harassment and bullying are challenged, not wished away".

She stated: "There is still an issue regarding the number of women seeking to stand at elections and the resolve of political parties to support and encourage their applications.

"In truth, my party is behind the curve. With a third of female MPs in the Commons, less than a quarter of the Conservative group are women.

"While this may constitute a significant improvement (in 2010 it was less than a sixth) it shows how far we have still to go."

She spoke out about the lack of female politicians at an event in Westminster staged by Women2Win - which was set up by the Tories to try to get more females into elected office.

READ MORE: Former SNP minister Mark McDonald admits causing woman "considerable distress"

Ms Davidson said the group "doesn't focus on targets, or quotas, or short-term fixes", but instead said it looks to find "long-term solutions to the problem of helping women enter and prosper in politics".

Home Secretary Amber Rudd, Education Secretary Justine Greening and Culture Secretary Karen Bradley have all been helped by the project.

Ms Davidson added: "The concern, however, is that the events of the last few weeks may set us back.

"Our political institutions are in danger of gaining a reputation as a toxic workplace for women."

She stated: "Let me make my position plain - we need to throw open the doors on what has gone on in the past.

"We need to flood the dark corners of parliament - and politics in general - with the disinfectant of sunshine.

"It is not acceptable for power to be abused; for people to be harassed or for the deck to be stacked against those who report wrong behaviour.

"We ask our political representatives to do a professional job - the very least they should expect is a professional workplace with decent HR practices in which to function.

READ MORE: Former SNP minister Mark McDonald admits causing woman "considerable distress"

"We need to address those misdeeds because we cannot let them put off the next generation of lawmakers.

"We want and need great talent in Parliament but currently those of ability see a skewed choice - work in business where workplace practices are modern, flexible and well-paid, or in the House of Commons, where you can be bullied, demeaned and told that if you complain you are a troublemaker.

"The tragedy is that sometimes - and sometimes is enough - intelligent, compassionate individuals will decided that these negatives outweigh the positives or getting involved in public life - and won't bother."