The Labor leader welcomed the resignation of Tory MP Neil Parish, who resigned on Saturday after he was seen watching pornography on his phone in the Commons chamber.
But he said Parliament needed a “cultural shift…led and modeled from above”.
Sir Keir spoke amid fresh allegations of misconduct in the House of Commons, with reports of incidents including MPs licking researchers’ faces. Parliament’s complaints procedure is said to have investigated more than 50 MPs for sexual harassment.
The Labor leader told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “There is a cultural issue that we need to address and culture change needs to be led and modeled from the top down.”
The Government has repeatedly shown that when a Tory colleague gets into trouble, “ministers’ first instinct is to shove him in the long grass and hide what’s happening,” Sir Keir said.
And he added: “It’s a political issue because the fish rots off the head…
“I have been involved with cultural change before – I had to do this within the Crown Prosecution Service. I learned that it has to be guided by a model from above.
“You look at the political leadership, see what approach they are taking. And without that, I think it’s very difficult to bring about change.”
Conservative Cabinet Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng denied there was a general culture of sexism in Westminster but said the pressures of the job pushed some MPs to cross the line.
“I don’t think there’s a culture of misogyny,” Mr. Kwarteng told Sophy Ridge.
“I think the problem we have is that people work in a really intense environment. There are long hours. I think in general most people know their limits. They know how to be respectful, but there are some instances where people are not openly acting to the highest standards.”
But Sir Keir said that view was challenged by female MPs with whom he had discussed the issue in recent days.
“We can’t have this discussion about this ‘high pressure culture place,'” he said. “To take responsibility.
“Neil community decided to watch porn in Parliament. Tory MPs opted for derogatory comments about Angela Rayner. You have to take responsibility.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/keir-starmer-parish-misogyny-sexism-b2069319.html The shift to a culture of misogyny in Parliament must be “led from the top,” says Keir Starmer