Predators working in Westminster have made it dangerous for young staffers, a shadow minister has warned, as he branded the Commons “the most unprofessional workplace” he has ever encountered.

Luke Pollard MP said victims are being let down as a “blind eye” is turned to abuse in the heart of politics.

The shadow armed forces minister also hit out at the conduct of MPs in the lower chamber, which he said has been allowed to become a “bear pit” where people are “deliberately shouted down”.

It comes as Westminster has been rocked by a series of scandals over alleged bullying or harassment from MPs in recent months.

Mr Pollard, who recently announced he would be stepping back from politics temporarily after being diagnosed with skin cancer, told GB News: “I don’t think Westminster is a safe place to work, especially for many of the young members of staff that MPs employ.

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“We know there are predators around Westminster that are sometimes allowed to continue, or a blind eye turned, and I want to see that changed.

“Westminster should embody the very best of our country. It should be a place that people aspire to get elected to and then want to change the world from a position of strength. And I’m afraid that at the moment I sometimes feel Westminster lets the rest of the country down.”

The Herald:

Luke Pollard 

He added: “I think we let far too many of them down, and that’s because we don’t have a robust system that protects victims. We don’t have a culture that challenges it.

“I think the Commons is the most unprofessional workplace I’ve ever worked in. The Chamber has, over many decades, been allowed to become a bear pit where people are deliberately shouted down, where insults are thrown at people, and that is what passes for mature political debates. Our politics, broadly, is broken.”

Mr Pollard, who is openly gay, also detailed the abuse he has experienced as a politician outside of Westminster.

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His constituency office has been vandalised on two occasions, including one incident involving offensive graffiti.

He also received abuse when he posted a picture on social media of himself and his partner last Valentine’s Day.

Mr Pollard told the news channel: “I think when you’re confronted with hate – and there’s a lot of hate around in politics at the moment, and in our society as a whole – I think you’ve got a choice about whether you confront it with more hate, more anger, more division, more energy. But that just creates more heat, it doesn’t create more light.”