“Harassment, sexism and misogyny: 5 years of ‘Pestminster’,” the Huffington Post recently noted. And the magazine “Politico” stated in April that it seemed that the country had been going through “the same charade every few months since 2017”: the shock of revelations was followed by empty promises of “zero tolerance” and reforms. “Only that nothing changes and the cycle starts again a few months later.” The New Statesman magazine commented: “Elected officials with a lot of power seem to think that their status in Parliament means that neither the law nor the rules of human decency apply to them.”
Investigations against almost 60 MPs
Police investigations into sexual misconduct are ongoing against around 9 percent of the 650 members of the House of Commons. Government members also become conspicuous. The fact that surveillance cameras documented how the married Health Secretary Matt Hancock kissed a close colleague in his office is still one of the harmless events in Westminster. Hancock resigned.
Johnson himself is said to have been caught in a clearly compromising situation in his office with his now-wife Carrie in 2018, when he was Secretary of State. Several media reported that the prime minister had repeatedly tried to help his companion get lucrative government jobs. Downing Street denies this.
Johnson right in the middle
Johnson is also in the thick of the “Pestminster” scandal. He denies knowing about the long-circulating allegations against “Whip” Pincher. His once most important adviser Dominic Cummings, now his greatest enemy, disagreed. The 58-year-old is lying again, Cummings tweeted. Rather, Johnson joked long before the appointment that the MP was “a pincher by name and a pincher by nature.” “Pincher” means “pincher” in German.
The new scandal comes at a bad time for Johnson. He has just left the “Partygate” affair about illegal Corona celebrations in Downing Street behind. Admittedly, with quite a few bruises, such as an internal party vote of no confidence that was narrowly won. Now his handling of “Pestminster” could cost the prime minister further support within his own ranks.
In addition, a real reform is not in sight. “It’s easier to laugh at the absurdity of a congressman claiming he accidentally clicked on porn while googling for tractors than to defoliate a culture that encourages fellow workers to harass their employees,” commented the New Statesman “. It must first be recognized how bad and unacceptable the situation is. “And how ashamed we should be that Westminster is so well known for sexual misconduct that we created our own word for it.” One thing is clear: “Pestminster” is not over.