MP arrest highlights again that the current system for excluding MPs from Parliament is not fit for purpose

29 March 2024

Leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP has been arrested and charged with sexual offences.

Houses of Parliament

He has resigned as leader of the DUP but remains an MP and under the current rules would be able to attend Parliament if he wishes.

There was due to be a vote on the precautionary exclusion of MPs from Parliament, which would be triggered upon arrest, which Prospect has been calling for for some years. But recently the government pulled the vote and significantly rowed back on the recommendations, putting exclusion at the point of charge.

Mike Clancy, General Secretary of Prospect which represents workers in Parliament, said:

“Yet another MP being arrested and charged with a serious sexual offence further highlights how the current system in Parliament is not fit for purpose.

“Parliament cannot be exempt from the kind of harm reduction policies MPs are seeking to bring in for other organisations like the Met.

“The behaviour of a small minority of MPs needs to be treated the same as in any other workplace. Parliament must bring forward a vote on precautionary exclusion from the Estate and it must reinstate the threshold as the point of arrest.

“MPs should be leading the way on this kind of thing not lagging behind the rest of the country.”