MPs ‘touched up’ and bullied clerks in Commons, says Labour MP

MPs hectored, bullied and “touched up” clerks in the division lobbies of the House of Commons, Labour MP Chris Bryant has claimed.

The senior Labour figure repeated his assertion that Conservative MPs were physically manhandled in the division lobbies during a chaotic fracking vote before Liz Truss quit as prime minister.

Condemning behaviour in the lobbies where voting takes place – and calling for cameras to be placed inside – Mr Bryant also said MPs had touched clerks inappropriately.

“It is striking the number of clerks who said to me that they are delighted they no longer have to sit in the division lobbies for counting because we now do it with our passes,” he told the House magazine.

“Because the hectoring attitude, the bullying and sometimes even the touching up of clerks by MPs in the division lobbies, was just beyond,” he added.

Mr Bryant also revealed that earlier in his 21-year parliamentary career, he had been touched inappropriately by older male MPs in the division lobbies.

The standards select committee chief told the magazine that one MP was “still around”, but said he would not report the behaviour retrospectively. “I don’t want to add to all that,” he said.

The Labour MP added: “In my 21 years as an MP, the worst behaviour by MPs that I have seen has either been in the bar, all of which is quite well documented, or is in the division lobbies.”

Mr Bryant previously said he saw Tory whips manhandling MPs to vote with the government during last month’s fracking vote which helped end Ms Truss’s short-lived premiership – saying it amounted to bullying.

A short inquiry ordered by Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle found no evidence of bullying or any physical pressure to vote a certain way.

But Mr Bryant again insisted that he saw “intimidatory behaviour and bullying” during the late-night vote, and called for cameras to capture votes.

“If there had been cameras in the division lobby, nobody would have had to look for evidence, the evidence would have been there,” he said.

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