MINISTERS will be subject to new rules governing “inappropriate, bullying or harassing behaviour” following a sleaze scandal at Westminster, prime minister Theresa May’s spokesman said on Tuesday (9).
May told her cabinet the ministerial code of conduct had been updated as they met following Monday’s reshuffle, her official spokesman said.
“The changes … include new wording to ensure that the code properly covers inappropriate, bullying or harassing behaviour,” he said.
Michael Fallon resigned as defence secretary in November after being accused of groping a journalist several years ago, saying his behaviour had “fallen below the high standards” of his role.
May’s deputy Damian Green was also accused of inappropriate behaviour by a young activist, which he denied. He was sacked in December for lying about pornography found on his computer a decade ago.
Other MPs were investigated for inappropriate behaviour, and leaders of all the main political parties agreed to introduce new safeguards for parliamentary staff. The ministerial code has also been amended to take account of a scandal that felled a third minister in May’s cabinet late last year.
International aid minister Priti Patel was forced to resign after conducting unauthorised meetings with Israeli officials, including prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while on holiday in the country.
“There’s also new wording to specifically address the requirements on ministers to report official meetings, domestically and especially overseas,” the spokesman said.