A former Conservative minister warned a newly elected Scottish MP which “predatory” men to avoid in Parliament.
It comes after Tory backbencher Neil Parish resigned after admitting that he had been watching pornography in the Commons.
Anum Qaisar, who was elected SNP MP for Airdrie and Shotts in May 2021, said she was told by opposition MPs which men to avoid in Parliament.
She told Sky News that a former Conservative minister approached her at a parliamentary event after noticing she was uncomfortable with a male politician being “too cavalier”.
She said: “Despite the fact we have this horrific, toxic culture in Westminster, it’s women looking after women.
“Since I joined Parliament, I’ve been taken aside by female MPs to warn me about some male MPs who say ‘Actually, Anum, you’re probably better off staying away from X, Y and Z’.
“In my situation, I was at a parliamentary event and a certain male MP made a beeline for me. I started to feel really uncomfortable because he was being far too over-cavalier.
“It was actually a Conservative MP – a former minister – who took me aside and said ‘Look, it seems like you feel uncomfortable. Do you want to stay with me? You’re probably best just to stay away from that person’.
Her comments follow the resignation of Parish, who confessed to watching pornography twice in the UK Parliament.
The Tiverton and Honiton MP told reporters it was a “moment of madness” which he will have to live with for the rest of his life.
He was suspended from the Conservative Party on Friday, before announcing that he would be stepping down as an MP over the criticism.
Qaisar, a former secondary school teacher, said it should not be up to women to bring forward change on issues like misogyny and harassment.
“Why is the responsibility being put on women? Far too often it is women who are told ‘Don’t wear skirts’. It’s women who are told ‘Be careful with what you wear’,” she said.
“We need a culture change where men are held responsible for their own actions.”
She added that there is a culture in Westminster where the men accused of these actions only quit when they are threatened with being thrown out of Parliament.
“In Westminster, we have this culture where we have late-night votes, a high-pressure environment and numerous bars in the Parliamentary estate.
“All those factors can enable men, usually those elected or in high office, to become predatory.”
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