Wednesday, 17 March 2010

EU parliament accused of 'hypocrisy' on gender violence

British MEP Nikki Sinclaire has accused parliament of "failing to properly" investigate her complaint that she was physically assaulted by the assembly's security staff. She says she is dissatisfied with the way parliament's bosses investigated the incident, which dates back to 2005.

Sinclaire made her accusation on Tuesday during a public hearing in parliament to mark international women's day.She accused the parliament of "rank hypocrisy" in pressing for action to tackle violence against women while at the same time "failing" to thoroughly investigate her complaint.

"It is all well and good to crusade against violence against women, which I abhor, but what about my case? Why hasn't that been dealt with properly?

"The security guards who assaulted me are still working in parliament. When I enter parliament I have to walk past the people who assaulted me. It is not right and smacks of double standards."

The incident happened in Strasbourg when Sinclaire, then a member of the UK Independence Party, took part in a peaceful protest against the old EU constitution.

After unfurling a banner, she said she was "dragged" to the ground by six security staff who then proceeded to "punch and kick" her.

The eurosceptic deputy says she was "covered" in bruises and needed hospital treatment as a result of what she calls a "vicious and totally unprovoked" attack.

Sinclaire, who now sits as an independent MEP after her split from Ukip, claims that one of the security staff who assaulted has since been involved in another similar incident in parliament.

Speaking during Tuesday's hearing, she said, "It is all very good for parliament to fly the flag for gender equality and suchlike but it should get its own house in order.

"It is worth remembering that this attack on me happened in parliament, in other words, in my place of work.

"How can parliament take such a position on work-placed gender violence when it failed to investigate my case?"

Watch the speech here