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Feb 8, 8:42 AM EST

British lawmakers could be expelled over sexual harassment

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LONDON (AP) -- The leader of Britain's House of Commons said Thursday that tough new measures against sexual misconduct will be "a game changer for Parliament," after a survey found one in five parliamentary workers had experienced or witnessed sexual harassment in the past year.

Parliament has been hit by a wave of harassment allegations in recent months that resulted in the resignation of two members of Prime Minister Theresa May's Cabinet.

A survey of 1,377 parliamentary workers found that some 19 percent had seen or experienced sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior over the past year, while 39 percent experienced other kinds of harassment and bullying.

A cross-party report released Thursday said Parliament should adopt formal procedures for dealing with complaints of sexual misconduct. It said "a change in workplace culture" is urgently needed and called for a new code of conduct with sanctions that could include the expulsion of lawmakers found guilty of abuse or bullying.

House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom said the report "is a major step in bringing about the culture change that Parliament needs."

Leadsom told lawmakers that "it is a right, not a privilege, to be treated with dignity and respect at work, and this ambitious report is a major step towards a safer and more professional environment."

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