May al­lows ‘se­rial sex pests’ to serve in her cabi­net

The Dominion Post - - World -

BRI­TAIN: Theresa May was em­broiled in the West­min­ster sex­ual ha­rass­ment scan­dal yes­ter­day as Down­ing Street of­fi­cials re­vealed that the prime min­is­ter gets weekly up­dates about the sex­ual in­dis­cre­tions of Con­ser­va­tive MPs - but has al­lowed min­is­ters ac­cused of wrong­do­ing to serve in her cabi­net.

Con­ser­va­tive whips faced the charge that they have turned a blind eye to se­rial sex pests and failed to re­port them to the po­lice be­cause sex­ual ha­rass­ment has been treated as if an MP is hav­ing an af­fair with an­other con­sent­ing adult. May is given a reg­u­lar brief­ing by the Tory chief whip Gavin Williamson on mis­de­meanours by Tory MPs af­ter the 8.30am plan­ning meet­ing in No 10.

In a sign of the lev­ity with which the is­sue is treated, one of May’s aides said the brief­ing was known in Down­ing Street as ‘‘the ins and outs’’ chat.

In­sid­ers say it cov­ers MPs hav­ing af­fairs, suf­fer­ing from sex ad­dic­tion, caught us­ing pros­ti­tutes, run­ning up gam­bling debts and tak­ing class-A drugs. But sources al­lege that ‘‘good, hon­est fun with other peo­ple’s wives’’ has been treated the same as preda­tory sex­ual be­hav­iour in which se­nior min­is­ters and MPs prey on the vul­ner­a­bil­ity of younger women and men work­ing in the Com­mons.

‘‘The whips be­have as if it’s the same thing - a bit of a laugh,’’ one No 10 source said.

An­other aide to May said: ‘‘Gavin would come in and ex­plain that this MP was hav­ing an af­fair or that MP had been up to no good. Theresa just sits there and doesn’t say much. On one oc­ca­sion she said, ‘Why can’t they just do their job?’ ‘‘

The claims led to calls yes­ter­day for the whips to open up their ‘‘black book’’ de­tail­ing the mis­de­meanours of se­nior MPs and min­is­ters, and re­port cul­prits to the po­lice rather than sit on the ev­i­dence as a weapon to keep politi­cians in line.

Emma Reynolds, the Labour MP for Wolver­hamp­ton North East, said: ‘‘The whips should not pro­tect MPs they hear are ac­cused of sex­ual as­sault. They should be re­ported to the po­lice.’’

Na­dine Dor­ries, the Con­ser­va­tive MP for Mid-Bed­ford­shire, said: ‘‘No male preda­tor should be given cover. In or­der for women to reach their full po­ten­tial, the cor­ri­dors of power have to be free from all forms of sex­ual ha­rass­ment and in­tim­i­da­tion, re­gard­less of party. This does not just ap­ply in West­min­ster, but in all work­places across the UK - es­pe­cially those which are male-dom­i­nated.’’

Jus­tine Green­ing, the ed­u­ca­tion sec­re­tary, said any­one who felt they had been sex­u­ally ha­rassed should con­tact the po­lice.

Po­lice in West­min­ster have dealt with nine cases of sex­ual ha­rass­ment in par­lia­ment this year. But amid fears that is just the tip of the ice­berg, the Com­mons Speaker John Ber­cow is to hold a meet­ing this week to dis­cuss greater safe­guards for re­searchers and Com­mons staff. - Sun­day Times

Theresa May

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