Does Betty Boothroyd really need sexual-harassment training?

The 91-year-old peer is being investigated by a parliamentary ethics watchdog.

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Topics Politics UK

Baroness Betty Boothroyd is under investigation by the House of Lords’ standards commissioner – all because she failed to attend a sexual-harassment course.

Boothroyd is one of 60 peers under scrutiny for failing to attend the ‘Valuing Everyone’ course. The course became compulsory for all peers last year, but is optional for MPs.

Correspondence seen by the Mail on Sunday shows Boothroyd told the commissioner that she had been unable to attend because she was self-isolating outside of London on the advice of doctors. She had been recovering from open-heart surgery. But, astonishingly, the commissioner said Boothroyd would be investigated anyway. If self-isolation due to heart problems isn’t a sufficient excuse to miss the course, what is?

What is perhaps most absurd about all this is the expectation that Boothroyd should attend such a course in the first place. At 91, she can hardly be seen as a sexual threat to anyone. She is also the only woman ever to have served as speaker of the House of Commons and has been a tireless campaigner for women’s equality. She doesn’t need any lessons on how to refrain from lewd behaviour.

It’s time we dialled down the hysteria over sexual harassment. Let’s start trusting adults to interact with each other again without pointless consent classes.

Picture by: UK Parliament.

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Topics Politics UK
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