Getting a gig in the UK’s House of Commons sounds like a pretty great addition to one’s photography portfolio.
But getting your home raided by police in search of missing parliamentary furniture that they are hinting you stole might kill any good press otherwise generated by the experience.
Serving as a parliamentary photographer for some five years, Mark Duffy was shocked to find police at his doorstep looking for a stolen lamp and other items from the parliamentary building including such nonsense like an armchair.
Despite his protests of innocence, the police conducted a thorough search of his home but did not turn up the missing items.
For his part, Duffy suspects this is all due to his dismissal last September while on leave for an illness. Prior to his exit as a parliamentary photographer, Duffy had pushed public positions on the rights of photographers in parliament. His dismissal was tied to this activity as it painted his employers, parliament, in a negative light, PetaPixel reports. It is also worth noting that Duffy's photography is often associated with portraying parliamentary deadlock over the Brexit issue.
For those who do not keep up with UK politics, Brexit is the country's decision to leave the European Union and it has proven to be a political dilemma for some time since the successful referendum. Duffy says the raid has induced a state of “shock and dismay,” both of which have prompted him to retain an attorney who will help him seek any kind of redress possible for his experience.
After publishing the story, a rep from the UK House of Commons told PetaPixel:
“We are unable to comment on individual HR matters. The House of Commons has extensive policies in place to protect both staff and managers should allegations of misconduct arise. We work closely with the recognised trade unions on all disciplinary cases and ensure that any staff involved are offered representation and have access to emotional support. Questions relating to alleged criminal offences and police activity are a matter for the Metropolitan Police.
Parliament’s Behaviour Code makes clear the standards of behaviour expected of everyone in Parliament, whether staff, members of the House of Lords, MPs or visitors. There is zero tolerance for abuse or harassment. We strongly encourage anyone who has experienced bullying or harassment in Parliament to submit a complaint via the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme. In addition, all current and former staff can access the Employee Assistance Programme for emotional support.”
What do you think? Was the investigation politically motivated or just a routine search? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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