Stories of sexual harassment of young members of staff by MPs have captured the headlines. Yesterday, the Defence Secretary Michael Fallon resigned, admitting his behaviour has "fallen short" of the standards expected by the military.
Forty Conservative MPs are named in a 'dirty dossier' and female Labour MPs have also accused their male colleagues of misogyny. Inevitably the newspapers are making a meal of all this as they did with the expenses scandal.
Why is this such a serious situation? First, the allegations centre around behaviour which is non-consensual and second, it involves older people using their power to abuse youngsters who work for them. That is a form of bullying.
Is it naïve to expect that the people we elect to represent us and make the laws we must obey are above this sort of behaviour?
None of us is without sin. The Bible says "If we claim to be without sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us" (1 John 1:8). Nor should we overlook the fact that half the population no longer believe in biblical teaching. They seek to do what is right in their own eyes and there is no doubt that sexual attitudes and behaviour have become more permissive.
A recent study found that 45% of British men and 32% of women admitted to having committed adultery at least once. The Office of National Statistics tells us that 42% of marriages end in divorce, suggesting that long term faithful marriages are no longer the norm. The popularity of reality TV programs like Love Island suggest plenty of people are not troubled by this slide away from traditional Christian morality.
Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have reacted to their MPs’ misbehaviour by calling for new grievance procedures for victims. But that alone will not be sufficient. Rules can be broken and there are suggestions that a minister and an MP have paid women to remain silent.
So what can be done? I believe that in cases where no law has been broken but harassment has occurred, the Parliamentary authorities should suspend the MP until everyone involved has been interviewed and the truth established. That information should then be made public in the MP’s constituency so that the voters can decide whether to vote for him or her at the next election.
When he was Prime Minister, David Cameron favoured legislation to give voters the power to recall their MP if they were guilty of inappropriate behaviour. A by-election would then be held in which the former MP could stand and face the voters’ judgement. If MP’s knew this was a possibility they might discipline themselves to behave properly with their staff and fellow MPs.
Perhaps - and this is more controversial - we should be reflecting on the consequences of losing the Christian moral values that are being eroded by secularism. Now is not the time to pretend morality is subjective. Instead Christians should stand firm in identifying this behaviour for what it is - sin that must be dealt with. Both by us, and ultimately by God.