THE Prime Minister has said sexual misconduct would be “grounds for dismissal” for ministers, amid claims of an investigation into three of his Cabinet ministers for sexual misconduct.

A Sunday Times report revealed that 56 MPs have been reported to a parliamentary watchdog that deals with complaints against MPs for sexual misconduct, including three members of Boris Johnson’s team.

Allegations among the 56 range from making sexually inappropriate comments to more serious wrongdoing, the paper said, with at least one complaint believed to involve criminality and an allegation that an MP “bribed a member of staff in return for sexual favours”.

In a question at Prime Minister’s Questions, the MP for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas asked: “56 members of this House are under investigation for sexual misconduct, and that includes three of his [the Prime Minister] Cabinet ministers.

“The Prime Minister has just rightly said that there can be no place for sexism and misogyny in this House, so can he now confirm whether he considers that sexual harassment, apparently unlike bullying and lying, is grounds for dismissal under the Ministerial Code?”

Boris Johnson responded by saying: “Of course sexual harassment is intolerable and it is quite right that members should now have a procedure by which they can bring that to the attention of the House authorities, and I think that’s a good thing, and of course, it is grounds for dismissal.”

Ms Lucas’ question made a thinly-veiled barb at Home Secretary Priti Patel, who did not resign after allegations of bullying, and against the Prime Minister, who has refused to quit amid claims he misled Parliament over parties held in Downing Street at the height of the covid-19 lockdown.

The Prime Minister’s comments come after he again criticised a “sexist” article in the Mail on Sunday featuring a Conservative MPs’ alleged remarks about deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner.

He said: “There can be absolutely no place for such behaviour or such expression in this House and we should treat each other frankly with the respect that each other deserve.”