Revealed: The 'anti-sleaze' training video that caused a Lords revolt
EXCLUSIVE: The ‘anti-sleaze’ training video that caused a revolt in the House of Lords… starring a boozy peer who stands ‘too close’ to a ‘little office girl’ and compliments her on clothes
- EXCLUSIVE: House of Lords anti-sleaze video features boozy peer pestering staff
- So-called ‘Lord Adams’ stands close to researcher and compliments her clothes
- He then goes on a rant about the ‘little office girl’ and tries to get her sacked
The anti-sleaze training video that caused a furious revolt in the House of Lords can be revealed today.
The ‘Valuing Everyone’ training designed to tackle bad behaviour by politicians includes an actor playing a boozy male peer who stands too close to a ‘little office girl’.
The so-called ‘Lord Adams’ also keeps complimenting her on her clothes and visits her work space in the evenings asking for research. And after ‘Jessica’ says she feels uncomfortable he tries to get her sacked.
Released to MailOnline under freedom of information rules, the videos show both the fake peer and the staff member giving their sides of the story.
More than £800,000 is believed to have been spent on running similar courses in the Lords and Commons. Dozens of peers were formally rebuked earlier this year for failing to do the course after it was made compulsory in the Upper House.
But critics complained of lazy stereotypes, branding the training ‘a complete waste of time and money’ that would do nothing to change the behaviour of genuine miscreants.
The ‘Valuing Everyone’ training designed to tackle bad behaviour by politicians includes an actor playing an oily male peer who stands too close to a ‘little office girl’
Released to MailOnline under freedom of information rules, the videos show actors playing the fake peer and staff member – dubbed Jessica – giving their sides of the story
A House of Lords spokeswoman said: ‘Valuing Everyone training is helping to ensure that everyone working in Parliament is able to recognise bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct, and feels confident taking action to tackle and prevent it.’
The video forms part of a two-hour workshop for members of the House of Lords.
In a series of clips, an actress playing a new researcher called ‘Jessica’ describes her initial excitement at starting her job.
But things soon turn sour as she reveals that one peer asked her to book their theatre tickets, and ‘Lord Adams’ has been engaging in increasingly creepy behaviour.
‘Last night when I was working on my own Lord Adams came in and asked for my help finding something,’ she says.
‘I was searching for an article online and he came up right behind me, looking over my shoulder and talking about his work.
‘He was so close I could feel his breath, and I am pretty sure I could smell alcohol. So I said ”could you give me some space please”.
‘I said it in a jokey tone so I wouldn’t offend him but he looked so annoyed and took two exaggerated steps away from me.’
Lord Adams then has his say in a boggle-eyed rant to camera, raging: ‘I can’t quite believe what happened with that new little office girl yesterday.
‘She implied that she was uncomfortable. I was just trying to make polite conversation, to put her at her ease.
‘She completely overreacted, made a scene for no reason.
‘She mutters so. It’s an office for goodness sake, people stand close to each other to have conversations all the time.
‘I don’t know if she’s just trying to embarrass me.’
Jessica subsequently laments that Lord Adams has been treating her differently, and he told one of her colleagues: ‘I don’t think she’s up to this job, who is the manager here?’
‘I knew I shouldn’t have said anything,’ she adds.
The workshop was introduced in 2019 to ‘address bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct in both Houses of Parliament, and to improve the working culture at Westminster’, according to the Lords.
In between video segments participants have a discussion on the contents led by a ‘professional trainer’.
The scenario is apparently based on a real episode, although details have been changed to avoid identifying those involved.
Former Cabinet minister Lord Heseltine told MailOnline he stood by his view that it was ‘insulting’ to suggest peers needed guidance to avoid such ‘repulsive behaviour’. ‘It is a complete waste of time and money,’ he said.
‘It is not going to have the slightest effect on habitual molesters or people who are ill mannered.’
The peer – who was recovering from a knee operation when first ordered to do the course – said the workshop had been ‘interminably boring’. ‘It took two hours. It was a long time,’ the Tory peer added.
MailOnline revealed in April that 60 peers were facing formal sleaze probes for failing to take the training.
Former Cabinet minister Lord Heseltine told MailOnline he stood by his view that it was ‘insulting’ to suggest peers needed guidance to avoid such ‘repulsive behaviour’
Former Speaker Baroness Boothroyd was among those subject to a formal standards probe for failing to take the course, even though she was recovering from open-heart surgery
They included former Speaker Baroness Boothroyd, who had been recovering from open-heart surgery.
In November last year the virtual course was made compulsory, meaning that anyone who had not completed it by April 1 was in breach of the Code of Conduct.
However, nearly a tenth of peers fell foul of the deadline, forcing commissioner Lucy Scott-Moncrieff to take action despite complaints that some had not been reminded or simply did not know they needed to comply.
Last month Lord James of Blackheath, Lord Kalms and Lord Willoughby de Broke were banned from the House’s dining and banqueting facilities and the Lords Library for failing to get the training.
A House of Lords spokeswoman said: ‘Valuing Everyone training is helping to ensure that everyone working in Parliament is able to recognise bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct, and feels confident taking action to tackle and prevent it.
‘The training has been praised in separate independent external reviews by Alison Stanley and Naomi Ellenbogen QC. The Ellenbogen review recommended it become mandatory for Members of the House of Lords.
‘The video forms one part of the training, it is shown in sections and is used to facilitate conversation in the group taking the course on the issues raised.
‘Over 760 Members of the House of Lords have completed this training.
’95 per cent of the Members who completed the post-training evaluation form said that they would recommend the course to others.
’92 per cent of Members also said they felt confident in calling out unacceptable behaviour after the course.’
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