Cabinet Office to investigate after minister admits asking assistant to buy sex toys

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PM requests Speaker to strengthen disciplinary procedures as unprofessional behavior as Tory MP Mark Garnier declares helpers claims

The Cabinet Office is to investigate whether Mark Garnier broke the ministerial code after he acknowledged questioning his former deputy to buy gender toys.

Garnier, a minister in the Department for International Trade under Liam Fox, was the most senior of various legislators named in reports on Sunday, as allegations of sexual harassment swirl around Westminster after the Harvey Weinstein scandal encouraged women in other professings to come forward.

The Conservative MP did not deny the accusations about phenomena in 2010, make use of his former helper Caroline Edmondson in the Mail on Sunday.

“I’m not going to be dishonest,” Garnier said. He insisted that be submitted to Edmondson as” sugar tits”, as she says he did, was a reference to the popular BBC comedy Gavin and Stacey, saying:” It absolutely does not constitute persecution .”

The Cabinet Office investigation declared by Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, during an interrogation on BBC1′ s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.

He said:” The floors, if they are true, are patently completely unacceptable and the Cabinet Office will be conducting an investigation into whether there’s been a breach of the ministerial code in this specific case .”

John Bercow. Picture: Rick Findler/ PA

Theresa May subsequently wrote to the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, saying that the Commons disciplinary procedures shortcoming “teeth” and expected dire reform.

She said a situation where MPs did not have to follow procedures laid down by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority( Ipsa) had not been able be tolerated any longer.

She asked for Bercow’s assistance in working on a cross-party basis to establish a new “house-wide mediation service” backed by a” contractually tying grievance procedure” available for all MPs.

A Conservative spokesman said:” As the cabinet of ministers has made clear, any reports of sexual abuse are seriously pertaining and any unsolicited sexual practice is completely unacceptable in any walk of life, including politics.

” Today, as a result of charges about a serving executive, the cabinet of ministers has furthermore requested the Cabinet Office to conduct an immediate investigation to see whether those reported acts divulge the ministerial system .”

According to the newspaper report, Garnier yielded Edmondson money to buy a gender doll for his wife and another for the status of women working in his Wyre Forest constituency office.

Edmondson said:” He suggested to me in a Commons bar one evening that we exited shopping for fornication playthings in Soho. The next day, he said:’ Come on, let’s make love .’ He took me to Soho and gave me the money to buy two vibrators. He digested outside the shop while I did .”

Garnier, a onetime City fund manager, is married with three children and was elected MP for Wyre Forest in 2010.

Downing Street has not yet is a response to Garnier’s case, but a separate report in the Sunday Times claimed May receives regular briefings on the sexual affairs of members of the governmental forces from Republican lashes, who are responsible for enforcing gathering discipline.

Labour is also poised for fresh allegations of inappropriate action, as junior personnel find emboldened to come forward.

Diane Abbott, the dark residence secretary, told Marr:” This isn’t a problem for any particular defendant or sect of a party … it runs right across parliament .” She said she hoped the most recent revelations would lead to a sea change in the culture of all male-dominated professions.

Some MPs have claimed accusations are not taken seriously enough. One onetime Conservative minister said:” It’s grim: the whole culture has to change .”

Another senior Tory identified on Sunday was Stephen Crabb, who stood for the party leadership last year. He has admitted sending a 19 -year-old who hoped to work for him a series of messages that he described as” sexual chatter “.

” We exchanged contents which talked about fornication but none of it was meant gravely ,” Crabb told the Sunday Telegraph.” We satisfied for coffee a few ages and had a glass of wine-colored once at the Commons, but good-for-nothing more. I countenance any sort of sexual chattering like this is totally wrong and I am sorry for my acts ,.” The incident is distinct from one last year in which the MP routed precise textbook sends to another young woman.

The Weinstein affair, in which the onetime Hollywood mogul has been accused of various the incidence of rape and sexual abuse, many of them by women who hoped he would further their jobs, has raised questions about different cultures at Westminster.

Michael Gove, the environmental issues secretary, apologised on Saturday after making a parody about the Hollywood producer on BBC Radio 4′ s Today programme.

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Gove originates ‘clumsy’ Harvey Weinstein farce on Today programme- audio

He told the presenter John Humphrys during an interview to commemorate the show’s 60 th remembrance:” Sometimes I contemplate coming into the studio with you, John, seems a bit like going to get Harvey Weinstein’s bedroom: you hope to develop with your solemnity intact .”

Gove afterward tweeted:” Defenses for my cumbersome struggle at fun on R4 Today this morning- it wasn’t appropriate. I’m sorry and apologise unreservedly .”

Abbott told Marr on Sunday:” Particularly in assembly, doing unprofessional behavior a pun is one of the reasons it’s not being handled. You have got to realise it’s undermining and humiliating for both women and it undermines and humiliates the relevant institutions .”

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