Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Scandal and politics

Almost as if it were contagious, accusations of sexual abuse have weakened the government in the UK.

In U.K.’s Clubby Parliament, Abuse Complaints Became Weapons
A spreadsheet began to circulate last week among journalists covering Britain’s Parliament, matching up the names of three dozen Conservative Party officials with brief descriptions of misconduct…

A dam-burst of accusations has engulfed Westminster over the last 10 days, released by the revelations about the sexual misconduct of the Hollywood power broker Harvey Weinstein.

Complaints about leading political figures have accumulated for years, in part because of the power asymmetry within the halls of Parliament. Young staff members… are told to inform party whips, in-house disciplinarians who were widely believed to stockpile compromising information for their own purposes. Newspapers, for their part, have often sat on reports of abuse rather than risk libel claims…

The scandal has hit Prime Minister Theresa May at a difficult time, as she struggles to control warring factions in her party and break free from a deadlock in negotiations for Britain’s exit from the European Union, known as Brexit…

In all, about a dozen members of Parliament, eight from the Conservative Party and four from Labour, are under investigation. One Tory, Charlie Elphicke, was suspended after “serious allegations” were referred to the police, the party has said. He has denied any wrongdoing…

“Britain’s political class feels pretty fragile right now,” said Tom McTague, the chief Britain correspondent for Politico…

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