RESTRICTING the sale of alcohol at Westminster and introducing CCTV cameras in MPs’ offices should be considered, John Bercow has suggested, following the publication of a damning report into claims of bullying and harassment at Westminster.

The Commons Speaker said the findings of QC Gemma White were “deeply shocking” and some of the claims should be reported to the police and “action taken”.

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He declared: “It is totally unacceptable for any MP to behave in this way.

"The Speaker does not have any powers over MPs in relation to their staff. However, he believes strongly that the House should restrict the sale of alcohol on the estate, consider the introduction of CCTV in MPs' offices and encourage all Members to go on employer training courses," added Mr Bercow.

Ms White’s independent report, which involved speaking to more than 200 people, said MPs' staff faced an "unacceptable risk" of bullying and harassment, including sexual harassment.

The QC said there was a "significant problem" about the way some MPs treated those who worked for them.

She said the House of Commons authorities had been too slow to act in response to previous reports into the issue.

HeraldScotland: Camley's Cartoon: Speaker threatens crackdown after Commons report published.Camley's Cartoon: Speaker threatens crackdown after Commons report published.

"Some staff of Members of Parliament are subject to an unacceptable risk of bullying and harassment, including sexual harassment, at work," she said.

"Most Members of Parliament treat their staff with dignity and respect but the problem of bullying and harassment is sufficiently widespread to require an urgent collective response.

"Recent steps taken by the House of Commons to address bullying and harassment across the Parliamentary community do not engage sufficiently with the particular issues faced by members' staff, who are in a uniquely vulnerable position because they are directly employed by Members of Parliament.

"Many describe the idea of complaining about bullying and harassment under the new complaints procedure as 'career suicide'.

"They also often have strong party and personal loyalties which constitute significant barriers to complaint," she added.

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Theresa May said the QC’s report was "deeply worrying".

Her spokesman explained: "The findings in this report are appalling and raise serious concerns. As the Prime Minister has said before, everyone working in Parliament deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

"There can be no place for bullying or abuse in Westminster or any workplace.”

He added: "It is important that the Parliamentary leadership now responds fully and promptly to the concerns raised in this deeply worrying report."

In response to the report, the House of Commons Commission - which is responsible for the administration of the Commons - said: "We condemn bullying and harassment of MPs' staff and offer our full support to anyone in the parliamentary community who has suffered in this way.

"The commission does not employ the staff of MPs as they are employed by MPs themselves, or via political parties.

"However, the commission takes very seriously its responsibility to ensure that Parliament is a modern workplace."

Ms White's investigation was ordered last year by Andrea Leadsom, the then leader of the House, following a highly critical report by Dame Laura Cox which highlighted the widespread bullying and harassment of staff.

In her findings, Ms White said such behaviour had been "tolerated and accepted" for too long.

She went on: "It has seriously affected the health and welfare of far too many people. There is a pressing need for a collective response to what is clearly a significant problem.

"I am concerned by the amount of time it has taken to act on recommendations from previous reports and would urge the House to move more swiftly.

"While the House of Commons is not alone in tolerating these behaviours, it is the home of our policy makers and a taxpayer-funded institution. It should therefore be at the forefront of good employment practice."

Her report said by far the most common form of offending behaviour was of “MPs who shout at, demean, belittle and humiliate their staff on a regular basis, often in public.

“The constant ‘drip, drip’, as more than one contributor put it, eats away at the employee’s self-confidence until they become anxious, exhausted and ill, incapable of performing their job and [often following a period of sick-leave] resign or are dismissed.

“Well over half of the people who contributed to this inquiry described suffering significant mental and/or physical illness as a result of this type of bullying behaviour.

“Sexual harassment is also a problem, with staff being subject to unwanted sexual advances, often accompanied by touching, sometimes forceful.

“There is an unacceptable level of sexual “banter” and unwelcome discussion of intimate sexual details.”

The majority of contributors described being bullied and harassed by their MP employer. A much smaller number described behaviour of fellow staff members but in some of those cases spoke also of their MP employer failing appropriately to address complaints.

“Some of the worst offenders,” noted the report, “are well-known as such within the parliamentary community but, other than the odd ‘quiet word’ from a fellow MP or the relevant Whips office, action has rarely been taken to address their behaviour.

“In the words of one contributor, there has been a ‘general disregard for the dignity, wellbeing and employment rights of MPs’ staff’.

During Business Questions, Mel Stride, the Commons Leader, told MPs there would be a "general debate" on the White report followed by a "debate on a motion relating to the changes to the independent complaints and grievance scheme" on Wednesday July 17.

He said he was "sure that members on all sides of the House will share his concerns" on bullying.

"Let me be clear that there should be absolutely no place for bullying and harassment in this place and we all bear a responsibility to uphold the proper standards of dignity and respect in Parliament.

"We have already made significant progress that will help bring about meaningful culture change but there remains more to be done," he added.

Valerie Vaz, his Labour Shadow, said: "We on this side want to thank Gemma White QC for the time and effort that she has put into her report and we will look seriously at the detail of the recommendations and work on a cross-party basis to make Parliament a modern workplace."