The Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) has raised concerns about a culture of excessive drinking in the UK’s Parliament, leading to inappropriate behaviour.
Based on 30 investigations conducted between 2021 and 2022, the ICGS found that alcohol consumption in parliamentary bars often resulted in intimidating actions, including shouting and swearing.
Blurred boundaries between personal and professional life also contributed to complaints.
The report identified a power imbalance in most cases, with those in positions of power often taking advantage of junior staff.
The ICGS budget is set to increase, reflecting the urgency of addressing these issues in Westminster.
The report states:
A number of the cases included the presence of alcohol and the culture of drinking in Westminster. Alcohol was a frequent factor in incidents in bars on the parliamentary estate (leading to intimidating behaviour like shouting and swearing), external functions connected to parliamentary activities, or where colleagues socialised at bars/pubs after such events. Alcohol affects investigations in other ways such as impacting the ability of witnesses to recall events when gathering evidence in an investigation.