• Ayesha Hazarika lifted the lid on sexual harassment and abuse in Parliament 
  • Most of her female colleagues on end of lewd comments and ‘wandering hands’ 
  • Dossier circulating in Westminster names 40 MPs accused of sexual impropriety 

Kate Ferguson, Political Correspondent For Mailonline

A former senior aide to Ed Miliband has told how sexual harassment and groping is rife in Westminster – and she as just 21 when first targeted.

Ayesha Hazarika said most of her female colleagues in Labour found themselves on the receiving end of lewd comments and ‘wandering hands’.

She said male politicians believe making sleazy sexual advances is a ‘perk of a job’ and make inappropriate remarks which they later dismiss  as ‘top bantz’.

Ms Hazarika, who is now a stand-up comedian and political commentator, said she was not surprised at the flood of allegations emerging from Westminster.

And she called for Parliament to be reformed to drag MPs into the modern era and make them stop acting ‘like something out of a Benny Hill sketch’.

Writing about her experiences, she said women who work in Parliament have to put up with a constant stream of drunken lunges and comments.

She said: ‘The kind of behaviour will range from totally pointless comments about your appearance – particularly your lady humps and nether regions; random crude attempts at sex joke dressed up as “top bantz” in the office.’

Ayesha Hazarika said most of her female colleagues in Labour had been on the receiving end of drunken lunges, wandering hands and lewd comments (file pic)

Ayesha Hazarika said most of her female colleagues in Labour had been on the receiving end of drunken lunges, wandering hands and lewd comments (file pic)

Ayesha Hazarika said most of her female colleagues in Labour had been on the receiving end of drunken lunges, wandering hands and lewd comments (file pic)

She said female aides and researchers are inundated by incessant requests to go to boozy nights out where ‘which involve a lot of booze; wandering hands; groping; lunging; escalating to full-on late-night demands’.

Ms Hazarika said she was just 21 when she first found herself on the receiving end of these unwanted advances. 

Writing in The Scotsman newspaper, she said: ‘I have experienced my fair share of this behaviour and it is not particularly pleasant. 

‘I was about 21 when it first happened and I felt alone and ashamed. 

‘I had no-one to talk to as it was a very male-dominated atmosphere, there was no concept of human resources, and I didn’t want to be known as a troublemaker. 

‘These are the emotions people feel when they are powerless, especially when the harasser is someone in a senior position who can make or break their career.’

She said inappropriate, sexist and lewd behaviour is rife in ‘is commonplace in the corridors of power’ and most of the women she knows working there have fallen victim to it. 

 Ms Hazarika said sexual harassment is rife in Parliament and called for more to be done to crack down on the abuse and ma ke MPs stop acting as if they are in a Benny Hill sktch

 Ms Hazarika said sexual harassment is rife in Parliament and called for more to be done to crack down on the abuse and ma ke MPs stop acting as if they are in a Benny Hill sktch

 Ms Hazarika said sexual harassment is rife in Parliament and called for more to be done to crack down on the abuse and ma ke MPs stop acting as if they are in a Benny Hill sktch

A dossier (pictured redacted by MailOnline) naming 40 MPs is circulating within Westminster

A dossier (pictured redacted by MailOnline) naming 40 MPs is circulating within Westminster

A dossier (pictured redacted by MailOnline) naming 40 MPs is circulating within Westminster

And she tore into the reaction among some people who she said have effectively told young women they should ‘man up’ and get over the harassment.

Ms Hazarika said bullying is also rife in Parliament and much more needs to be done to protect the young staff – who are often in their first job or an internship – from this.

She said: ‘They need to be looked after and offered some pastoral care especially if they are being mistreated by an MP.

‘But we need more equality of power. Sexual harassment is mostly a product of deep structural imbalances in power which is why senior men have been allowed behave with impunity to junior women and men for such a long time without any challenge.’

She added: ‘They make the rules by which we have to live our lives and behave in the workplace. It is only right that they behave to a higher standard, drag themselves into the modern world and stop acting like something out of a Benny Hill sketch.’

A dossier naming 40 MPs accused of sexual impropriety has been circulating in Westminster.

While most of the allegations which have surfaced relate to Tory MPs, insiders say sexual harassment and abuse is a problem in all political parties.

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