Woman left ‘incredibly disturbed’ by peer disciplined for fresh sexual harassment claims

A peer has been told to continue receiving specialist training following complaints of sexual harassment – but warned he will face “severe” punishment if it happens again.

Lord Stone of Blackheath was alleged to have touched the waist of a 20-year-old woman he offered a tour of parliament to in July 2018 and stroked her arm, kissing her upon greeting in “very close proximity” to her mouth.

The woman – known only as GH – claimed he called her “young and beautiful” in interactions that left her “incredibly disturbed”.

Another woman, a parliamentary staffer known as CD, said Lord Stone told her in June 2019 he was a “tactile” person, touched her arm and told her the religious garment she was wearing wasn’t “sexy”.

She added he started talking about women’s clothing, asking: “What do they expect when they wear short skirts and lipstick? Of course we’re going to be friendly.”

Lord Stone was suspended by the Labour Party in October over allegations that he sexually harassed parliamentary staff.

At the time, Lords Commissioner for Standards, Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, carried out an investigation and upheld four complaints about his conduct.

They included allegations of unwanted physical contact, personal remarks about the appearance of female staff and transphobic comments.

Then new complaints about Lord Stone’s behaviour were made to the commissioner following publication of her report.

After studying them, she found he breached the code of conduct with behaviour that constituted harassment related to the protected characteristics of religion and sex in one instance, and age and sex in another.

The new complaints related to behaviour which took place before the previous report had been published and before Lord Stone had begun a course of bespoke behaviour change training.

The Lords Conduct Committee said it supported Ms Scott-Moncrieff’s recommendation that Lord Stone, who is a former joint managing director of Marks and Spencer, continue to take part in the behaviour change training.

It added the course should be adapted to reflect the specific aspects of the latest complaints.

A spokesman for the committee said: “We have also made clear that if Lord Stone were to commit further similar breaches of the code in the future, the committee would be inclined to apply a much more severe sanction.”

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