Cabinet minister says she was ‘pinned against a wall’ by MP

A cabinet minister said she was once “pinned against a wall” by an MP while telling colleagues to “keep your hands in your pockets” amid renewed accusations of misogyny and sexual misconduct in Parliament.

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan told LBC Radio: “I have witnessed and been at the sharp end of misogyny from colleagues many times.

“We could describe it as errant hands, if you like, we could describe it as, you know, several years ago a male MP who is now no longer in the House pinned it against a wall, I am pleased. say, declaring that I must love him because he was a powerful man.

“This kind of thing, these abuses of power, that a very small minority, thank God, of male colleagues show is completely unacceptable.”

Ms Trevelyan added that she had been subjected to “roaming hands” by “half a dozen” men in Westminster, some of whom were “repeat offenders”.

On Sky News, the Commerce Secretary told his male colleagues to “keep your hands in your pockets and behave as you would if you had your daughter in the room.”

She said the vast majority of her male colleagues are “charming” and “committed” MPs.

Ms Trevelyan added: “But there are some for whom they drink too much, or indeed a sort of opinion that somehow being chosen makes them, you know, a godsend to women, who can suddenly indulge yourselves, that’s never okay. , that kind of behavior, disrespect for women.”

She dismissed calls to ban alcohol in Parliament, saying: “There’s nothing wrong with having a drink with your colleagues.

“Responsible drinking has to be the way forward, and we continue to try to improve on that.”

Treasury Shadow Chief Secretary Pat McFadden said the “general effect” of inappropriate behavior in the House of Commons is “corrosive” to faith in politics.

The Labor MP told Times Radio: “That’s a bad thing for the country because this remains the arena where we have to decide the big challenges facing the country.”

It comes as Boris Johnson comes under mounting pressure to remove the whip from a Tory MP accused of viewing pornography in the House of Commons and as a growing chorus of senior ministers criticize Westminster’s “shameful” culture.

Ms Trevelyan described the claims as “completely unacceptable” but refused to say whether the unnamed Conservative MP should be sacked and denied that her party specifically has a misogyny problem.

“I have not had the opportunity to speak to the chief whip, and I know that the ladies concerned who apparently saw this completely inappropriate activity have been encouraged to use the formal system in the House of Commons to be able to report it. , and I very much hope that they do or have, I don’t know, and that the system shows if that was the case, what exactly should be the punishment for that kind of inappropriate behavior.”

He also said he is confident whip boss Chris Heaton-Harris “will make a decision that is appropriate.”

The charge brought against the unnamed Tory will be examined under Parliament’s Independent Complaints and Complaints Scheme (ICGS), which investigates allegations of harassment and sexual misconduct.

On Thursday, the prime minister described the allegations of viewing pornography as “totally unacceptable”.

During a visit to Burnley, Johnson told broadcasters: “What needs to happen now is that the proper procedures need to be followed, the independent grievance and complaints procedure needs to be activated and we need to come to understand the facts, but, yes. That kind of behavior is clearly totally unacceptable.”

Heaton-Harris called for an independent investigation after allegations of viewing pornography surfaced during a meeting of Conservative MPs in Westminster on Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for Mr Heaton-Harris said: “Following allegations of inappropriate behavior in the House of Commons, the Chief Justice has asked that this matter be referred to ICGS.

“Upon the conclusion of any ICGS investigation, the whip chief will take appropriate action.”

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Attorney General Suella Braverman (James Manning/PA)

Under the ICGS, an investigator would examine the case and the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Kathryn Stone, would then make a conclusion.

In a serious case like this, normally the Independent Expert Panel (IEP) would decide on a sanction, which would also hear any appeals.

The IEP could recommend sanctions, including expulsion from the House of Commons or a suspension, which could trigger an impeachment by-election if it lasts more than 10 days in session.

Only witnesses to the viewing of pornography could make a complaint about the MP under the ICGS.

Attorney General Suella Braverman said that if the subject of the complaint is found to have been viewing adult material, it should result in them “no longer occupying their privileged position as a member of parliament.”

The minister told BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour that if the claims were found to be true, the whip should be removed (“I am ashamed that this person is wearing a Conservative cockade”) and the MP could be expelled or subject to an impeachment process.

The porn claims followed reports that 56 MPs, including three cabinet ministers, are facing allegations of sexual misconduct referred to ICGS.

They also follow outrage over The Mail On Sunday’s publication of “sexist” and disputed claims by anonymous Conservative MPs that Labor Deputy Leader Angela Rayner tried to distract Mr Johnson with her legs during Prime Minister’s Questions.

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