Tony Blair was aware of some of the description of abuse within Westminster, but has said it “wasn’t something I got involved in”.
The former prime minister said he was a family man during his time in Parliament but seems to have acknowledged he was aware about the behaviour of some other MPs.
He told BuzzFeed News there would be a “a necessary change in culture” following the ongoing sleaze scandal engulfing Westminster.
But he said: “I was never part of it, I was living in London and had a family. I recognise some of the descriptions, let’s say, but it wasn’t something I got involved in.”
Mr Blair’s comments come as Kerry McCarthy was hailed for her bravery in telling how she had received unwanted attention from MP Kelvin Hopkins spanning 20 years.
Ms McCarthy said the Luton North MP – who was currently suspended from the Labour Party pending an investigation into allegations over inappropriate behaviour towards a young activist – sent her a series of letters and cards making comments about her appearance.
She told the Press Association she believed Mr Hopkins, who urged her in two of the notes to “dispose” of them, knew his actions were wrong.
She said: “I absolutely believe he knew this behaviour was unacceptable. It made me feel uncomfortable in his presence and was quite upsetting.”
Ms McCarthy, 52, first met Mr Hopkins, 76, when she was in her late 20s in Luton and said in the years that followed he sent several notes which included references to her “pretty, petite” appearance.
She received another note on parliamentary writing paper on her 50th birthday, when by which time Ms McCarthy was an MP.
In a statement, Mr Hopkins said the complaint had caused him “immense personal hurt and utter dismay”.
He added: “I cannot understand why a Parliamentarian of such experience and standing, who is also such a long term friend, would not have told me that she was unhappy with any aspect of our friendship rather than going straight to the national press.”
But Labour women MPs praised Ms McCarthy for speaking out.
Jess Phillips said: “Just finished final meeting of the day and want to say how brave I think @KerryMP is. If you think this stuff is easy you are kidding yourself.”
Former shadow education secretary Lucy Powell said: “@KerryMP has done a brave thing and deserves support. It’s not for social media to judge how this behaviour made Kerry feel over the years.”
Former frontbencher Angela Smith said: “@KerryMP is a thoroughly decent human being as well as being a brave woman. All credit to her for coming out with her story tonight.”
Ms McCarthy said she decided to speak out after activist Ava Etemadzadeh complained last week about Mr Hopkins’ behaviour.
Ms Etemadzadeh contacted the party again with fresh information, prompting Mr Hopkins’ suspension, following an initial complaint over dealings with the MP in 2014 and 2015 which saw the MP reprimanded at the time but later appointed shadow culture secretary.
He “categorically denies” any inappropriate conduct in relation to Ms Etemadzadeh.
Mr Hopkins said he would “fully cooperate with any investigation” but called for the matter to be “dealt with by proper due process and not by unfair, humiliating one-sided trial by media”.
A Labour Party spokesman said: “The Labour Party takes all allegations of sexual harassment extremely seriously. Kelvin Hopkins is currently suspended from the Labour Party pending an investigation.”