Sex toys PA may sue ‘slime­ball’

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News -

THE Min­is­ter un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for mak­ing his sec­re­tary buy sex toys faces be­ing sued by her af­ter he claimed it wasn’t as bad as it looked be­cause they were friends.

In­ter­na­tional Trade Min­is­ter Mark Garnier was branded a ‘slime­ball’ by col­leagues of his for­mer aide Caro­line Ed­mond­son af­ter he broke a twoweek si­lence on the mat­ter.

They seized on his claim that the dis­clo­sure a fort­night ago in this news­pa­per that he called her ‘sugar t*ts’ and got her to buy him two sex toys in Soho had been taken ‘out of con­text’ be­cause ‘at the time we were friends’. His care­fully worded state­ment apol­o­gised for the fact that ‘the sit­u­a­tion oc­curred’ – but stopped short of a full apol­ogy. A friend of Ms Ed­mond­son said: ‘Mr Garnier’s weasel words about their re­la­tion­ship is a dis­grace.

‘Caro­line has been a highly re­spected Com­mons sec­re­tary for more than 30 years. To sug­gest her re­la­tion­ship with him was anything other than pro­fes­sional is to­tally un­true. He should have the courage to ad­mit his be­hav­iour was com­pletely un­ac­cept­able. In­stead he acts like a slime­ball try­ing to cling on to his job.’

An­other fe­male friend of Ms Ed­mond­son said: ‘We have urged her to sue over any in­sin­u­a­tion about their re­la­tion­ship.’

Mar­ried father-of-three Mr Garnier, 53, is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the Cabi­net Of­fice. He said last week: ‘The events of 2010 con­cern­ing my­self and a for­mer mem­ber of staff have been re­ported out­side the con­text and cir­cum­stances in which they oc­curred. At the time we were friends, and I want to be clear that I did not force or pres­sure her into do­ing anything.’

He added that vot­ers in his Wyre For­est con­stituency in Worces­ter­shire had a right to ex­pect high stan­dards of be­hav­iour from MPs and he apol­o­gised that the sit­u­a­tion oc­curred. Ms Ed­mond­son, now Com­mons sec­re­tary to ex-Cabi­net Min­is­ter John Whit­ting­dale, and Mr Garnier, de­clined to com­ment.

RE­SPECTED: Com­mons aide Caro­line Ed­mond­son

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