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Lawmaker faces three-year sexual harassment ban

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A House of Lords committee Monday recommended suspending for three years a parliamentarian who allegedly forced a woman to sleep with him — the longest ban since at least World War II.

Sexual harassment bill

The entire upper house will vote on the conduct committee’s ruling on Thursday.

The decision against Anthony Lester — an 82-year-old member of the centrist Liberal Democrats party — comes with sexual harassment allegations swirling over both houses of the UK parliament.

An October report into the House of Commons found that a culture of bullying and inappropriate sexual behaviour “thrives” among members of the lower chamber.

The House of Lords committee found that Lester violated the code of conduct by “sexually harassing the complainant and offering her corrupt inducements to sleep with him”.

It said the behaviour occurred “in the context of his parliamentary duties” and that the suspension should apply until June 2022.

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“If the suspension is agreed by the House of Lords it will be the longest suspension of a member of either the House of Lords or the House of Commons since at least the end of World War II,” it said in a statement.

Lester has contested allegations reported in The Sun newspaper claiming he offered an activist in the party help if she slept with him.

He stepped back in February from his role as party whip — a political enforcer who makes sure members vote a certain way on legislation — while the allegations were under review.

The Times newspaper described Lester as a human rights attorney. It added that the incident occurred several years ago.

Peers in the House of Lords are appointed by the UK monarch on the advice of the prime minister and serve for life.

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Some current members inherited their titles.

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