Everyone has a “whisper network list” of politicians not to get in a lift with, Charlotte Nichols told the BBC
Labour Party MP Charlotte Nichols has claimed there is a “whisper network list” in Westminster of about 40 members of parliament to avoid because of their alleged involvement in bullying or sexual abuse. Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live on Thursday, Nichols blamed a “culture of impunity” for the fact that politicians on the list continue working as if nothing had happened.
“When I first came into parliament, there was a group of people that I knew who kind of sat me down and gave me a list of MPs who I should never accept a drink from, who I should never be alone with, who I should never get in a lift with, and whom I should try to avoid as far as possible to keep myself safe,” Nichols, 31, who was elected in 2019, said.
She added that her job would be “perfect” if it wasn’t for the “abuse online” and a “culture of toxicity” within parliament. New names appear on the “dangerous people” list, which is being passed by word of mouth, “all the time,” she said.
“We all know and nothing is done – and they continue to walk around and do their jobs, and there’s that kind of culture of impunity on it,” she claimed.
Though “everyone has a kind of whisper network list of the people to avoid,” Nichols noted, the problem is that some of “the most dangerous people” are the ones you least suspect.
The revelations follow a series of scandals over parliamentarians’ alleged involvement in bullying, sexual misconduct, and harassment. Earlier this week, Gavin Williamson was forced to resign from the government due to allegations of bullying. It was revealed that he had sent expletive-laden texts to former chief whip Wendy Morton.
Boris Johnson resigned as prime minister amid a scandal around his former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher who had allegedly groped two men at a Conservative reception.
Another MP, Neil Parish, also had to quit this year after it was revealed that he had watched pornography on his mobile phone in the House of Commons.
However, according to the Guardian’s report, MPs are not the only source of danger in parliament. A senior Tory female MP, who preferred to stay anonymous, revealed to the outlet that other women had warned her of which male journalists to avoid in Westminster.