Tag Archives: sexting

‘Pestminster’ scandal means Theresa May must tell us – IMMEDIATELY – what she knows and when she was told

Theresa May: The minority prime minister has serious questions to answer [Image: Carl Court/Getty Images].

Michael Fallon has owned up to touching Julia Hartley-Brewer inappropriately, marking him out as possibly the first sex pest on the Tory spreadsheet to be identified.

Perhaps he thought there was no point trying to deny it – after all, we already know he had to be peeled off a female Russian agent while drunk, and also that he referred to a female journalist as a “slut” – to her face, not recognising who she was.

To This Writer, it suggests that he is the person described as “perpetually intoxicated and very inappropriate with women” on the spreadsheet.

I may be wrong! In that case, I stand ready to be amazed at the name of someone whose behaviour is even worse.

The recipient of Mr Fallon’s unwanted attention was Julia Hartley-Brewer, a very strong supporter of the Conservative Party who has played down the incident:

Note that her tweet clearly identifies Mr Fallon as the man the Sunday Times claimed “placed his hand on the thigh of a senior female journalist in full view of his frontbench colleagues at a party conference dinner some years ago and announced: ‘God, I love those tits.'”

But Ms Hartley-Brewer stated: “I believe it is absurd and wrong to treat workplace banter and flirting – and even misjudged sexual overtures – between consenting adults as being morally equivalent to serious sexual harassment or assault.

“It demeans genuine victims of real offences… I have not been a victim and I don’t wish to take part in what I believe has now become a Westminster witch hunt.”

Others may have a strong opinion about that!

Perhaps Ms Hartley-Brewer was able to put off a sex pest, but others – in a similar situation – may not be able to do so. Perhaps she did not consider that when she wrote her tweet.

As a man writing about this subject, perhaps I should pause and make it clear that I have spent a considerable time thinking about what may be deemed appropriate behaviour, and what may not.

I would agree that workplace banter should not be equated with serious sexual harassment or assault – but what do you call workplace banter? I would imagine it would be joking about another person – perhaps about their sexual nature, life or abilities – in a way that the other person does not find offensive (or at least, they can get their own back), and I would strongly suggest that it would be with at least one other person present and aware of the behaviour in question. Even then, there is a danger that it could cross the line. Workplace banter should not be a sexual advance, I think.

Flirting should be obvious as such, and it really shouldn’t be possible for anyone to infer threat from it. I have enjoyed flirting with other people very much, and would be absolutely desolate if any of the people with whom I enjoyed those moments considered them anything more than humorous and complimentary. The key is that both people should be at their ease, I think.

As for misjudged sexual overtures – would inappropriate touching come under this heading, or is it going too far? I think the answer to that question is found in the overall demeanour of the person making the overture. If they’re aggressive in any way, then perhaps it’s a little more serious than a misjudgement.

In the case of Mr Fallon, we have examples of the language he is alleged to have used – and it seems entirely inappropriate to me. If I was trying to attract a woman sexually (and I admit it has been a while, as Mrs Mike and I are quite happy in that department, thank you very much), then I would not make a habit of using words like “slut”, or phrases like “God I love those tits”!

Also mentioned by Ms Hartley-Brewer are the words “witch hunt”. Let’s consider that aspect of this story.

The Independent has run an article claiming: “May knows she can’t sort this out: she’s the figurehead of a boys’ club whose male members would scream ‘Witch hunt!’ if she ever dared to try”.

The piece imagines that Mrs May takes a dim view of various potential shenanigans, before making the very serious point that bemusement at the behaviour of her errant MPs is “no excuse to tolerate abuse”.

It continues: “While the case of Mark Garnier, minister for ‘Brexit trade’ … has no criminal implications [he described his behaviour as “good humoured high jinks], it is less hilarious than our more Neanderthal MPs will think. In the hours since the Mail on Sunday broke the story, the gallant Garnier has admitted addressing his secretary as “sugar tits”, and sending her into a Soho shop to buy a brace of choicest vibrators on his behalf.

“Even Chuckles Gove, the Rumpelstiltskin of sexual wit, couldn’t spin that into comedy gold. And whether or not this is a relatively trivial abuse of the power imbalance between male boss and female employee, it simply isn’t funny.

“With Stephen Crabb … it is worse. Having quit his leadership bid when outed for sexting, Crabb now fesses up to having sent “explicit messages” to a woman of 19 he interviewed for a job in 2013 when a minister for Wales.  What he calls ‘foolish’, I call ‘an abuse of power for which the Speaker should drag him from the Commons by the penis, promising to remove it with rusty garden secateurs if he ever tries to return’.”

And the article concludes, in agreement with This Writer, that the problem lies in a whips’ office that covers up MPs’ behaviour – especially if it is criminal – in order to use it for political gain.

Theresa May, who receives weekly reports on these “Ins and Outs”, is a part of this process.

The Independent piece states – again rightly – that “wherever there is strong evidence of a sexual offence, moral or criminal or both, it should be removed from the whips’ safe and exposed to the cleansing light of day… But I don’t imagine May will do that. She can’t afford to, as the figurehead of a boys’ club whose male members would scream “Witch hunt!” if she did, and the hostage of a tottering Government that could fall at any time for any number of reasons.”

I think the Independent is far too lenient on Mrs May. She has serious questions of her own to answer – starting with how long she has known about the sexual harassment allegations against her MPs and cabinet ministers – of whom we are told at least six are implicated, among 21 serving ministers, ex-Cabinet ministers and a permanent private secretary.

Will Downing Street answer? No.

A spokesperson for Theresa May today repeatedly refused to say when the prime minister first heard about dozens of allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate sexual behaviour made against Conservative MPs and serving cabinet ministers.

May’s spokesman told Business Insider that May acted once the allegations were “made public” but was unable to say when the prime minister was first informed about them.

So she was quite happy to let these people carry on with their nasty pastimes while the wider public remained unaware – and is only acting, half-heartedly, now that the revelations are starting to fly. Now that they – and she – have been found out.

This fits the “boys’ club”/”witch hunt” scenario, certainly – but then there’s the allegation that her advisors, silenced a survivor of historic child sexual abuse in order to keep Mrs May’s way clear to Downing Street during the 2016 Conservative leadership selection process (we can’t call it an election).

Sharon Evans claimed that the contracts panel members were made to sign by the Home Office were used to stop them from speaking openly about “very serious allegations about very public figures” – allegations which she says were taken back to the inquiry leaders, but ‘nothing was being done about” them. She said:

I suggested that we wrote to Theresa May, who was the Home Secretary, to express our concerns. At the end of the day I was taken to one side and it was made clear to me – this is what I was told – that Theresa May was going to be Prime Minister, that this inquiry was going to be part of this, and that if I didn’t toe the line and do as I was told, if I tried to get information out I would be discredited by her advisors.

If true, why would Theresa May do this?

As the evidence mounts, it seems reasonable to conclude that the rot is not limited to “workplace banter”, “flirting”, or even “inappropriate sexual advances”, but goes much further and involves people in positions of enormous power – possibly even the person with the most power.

That is why it now seems increasingly possible that this so-called “Pestminster” crisis could topple the minority Conservative government.

Not only has the Conservative Party lost its credibility as a responsible party of government but serious questions – indeed, the most serious questions – must now be asked of that party’s, and the government’s leader. Now – not at her convenience.


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Tory sexual harassment spreadsheet names 36 MPs and Theresa May knew about them all

If Theresa May thought this was permissible, perhaps she isn’t the right person to decide whether Conservative MPs are guilty of sexual harassment or worse [Image: Getty].

That’s right – thanks to her weekly briefing – the “Ins and Outs” report, Theresa May has known all about the 36 Conservative MPs who are sexual predators.

Now, according to the Guido Fawkes blog, it seems her aides have provided a handy spreadsheet for her, listing them by name and detailing what they have done – and continue to do.

Unfortunately, the right-wing blog has blacked out the names of those involved. While we know they have accuracy issues over there, it is to be hoped this is simply to avoid legal challenge in the absence of the corroborating evidence needed to back up the allegations. Here’s the redacted list:

As you can see, there are a lot of blanks to be filled in.

The Sunday Times has gone a little way towards remedying this. With its website hidden behind a paywall, This Writer has to rely on the good graces of people on the social media to provide information like the following:

For those who can’t read text in image files:

Two senior cabinet ministers have been named by female MPs, researchers and journalists as serial sex pests.

One man who is now a serving cabinet minister placed his hand on the thigh of a senior female journalist in full view of his frontbench colleagues at a party conference dinner some years ago and announced: “God, I love those tits.”

A second senior cabinet minister had an affair with a junior female aide who is also an MP. Downing Street is concerned that if either man is forced to resign it will destabilise the government.

Female MPs were this weekend also sharing details of a former Tory minister who propositioned his young secretary by asking her to “come and feel the length of my dick”. When the same MP was first elected, his female colleagues told each other: “Don’t get into a lift with him.” He then formed a “shagging double act” with a party grandee who has now left the Commons.

On the Labour benches the MPs facing exposure include one who was thrown off a foreign trip for making “inappropriate” approaches to a young woman and an MP who has been tipped as a leadership contender, who is known to female researchers as “Happy Hands”.

A Liberal Democrat peer’s career is also in danger after inviting a succession of female journalists to lunch while insisting that they wear knee-high boots and short skirts.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has acted swiftly to make clear his party’s position:

But the Tories aren’t nearly as forthcoming. The reason? Consider this:

This confirms that the situation in the Conservative Party hasn’t changed since the 1970s, when Tim Fortescue was a party whip. He explained the situation in the 1990s:

And what is Theresa May doing, now that she knows we know at least part of what she knows?

She’s passing the buck, writing to the Commons Speaker, John Bercow, as follows:

She writes:

“I am sure that you will share my concern at recent media reports regarding the alleged mistreatment of staff by some Members of Parliament.”

Meaning: “We’ve been trying to keep it quiet but the media have found out anyway.”

“I believe it is important that those who work in the House of Commons are treated properly and fairly, as would be expected in any modern workplace.”

“I was quite happy to keep quiet about my sex pest MPs before, but now it is more convenient to make a show of taking action.”

“Much has already been done including a 24/7 external confidential phone line as well as an online portal and an HR Advice Service for MPs. However, I believe that we must now go further.”

“… for the sake of appearances.”

“As you know, there is a suggested disciplinary procedure provided by IPSA as part of the standard contract. However, it does not have the required teeth as contractually an MP does not have to follow the procedure.”

“I was perfectly happy with this up until now, as it suited my own purposes.”

“I do not believe that this situation can be tolerated any longer. It is simply not fair on staff, many of whom are young and in their first job post-education.”

“Not that I cared much about that before yesterday.”

“I know that Government Chief Whips Gavin Williamson, Mark Harper and Sir George Young (now Lord Young of Cookham) have been at the forefront of efforts to bring clarity to this area.”

“Gavin Willliamson has been bringing me clarity on a weekly basis with his “Ins and Outs” reports. I knew about all the activities of my MPs and did nothing because it suited my purposes.”

“In 2014 the Conservative Party offered MPs a code of conduct on a voluntary basis. However, this does not have legal standing and is therefore not fit for its intended purpose.”

“It was never intended to be.”

“The Conservative Party is determined to protect those staff who work for MPs, but in order to do so effectively I believe that we must establish a House-wide mediation service complemented by a contractually binding grievance procedure available for all MPs irrespective of their party banner.”

“These procedures would kick any grievances into the long grass, and we could force confidentiality on those taking part.”

“It is vital that staff and the public have confidence in Parliament and resolving this employment irregularity on a cross-party basis can play an important role in this.”

“Appearances are everything.”

A commenter has stated that this should propel Mrs May out of Downing Street.

That will only happen if the public continues to highlight her hypocrisy on this issue – most particularly by seeming to harbour sex criminals.


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Theresa May has weekly reports on her ministers’ sex pest activities – and does nothing. Let’s consider the reasons

Sexual harassment can be as apparently innocent as touching somebody on the shoulder – but the allegations against Conservative ministers go much further than that [Image: The Times of India].

We should not be surprised that Theresa May receives reports on the unwanted/illegal sexual activities of her ministers (called the “Ins and Outs” report, in extremely poor taste).

UK television viewers were primed for it, all the way back in the early 1990s, when a scene in the original House of Cards TV series showed Francis Urquhart (played by Ian Richardson) blackmailing another member of his Parliamentary party, who had committed a sexual indiscretion, into voting a particular way in the House of Commons.

And former Tory whip Tim Fortescue spoke out about the practice in 1995:

And Diane Abbott – the victim of more online personal abuse than all other current MPs put together – has said that Westminster has long harboured a culture of sexual harassment:

We know that Mrs May has these weekly reports. We know she does not punish MPs whose names are contained in these reports. And we know that she is in a very difficult position, at the head of a minority government that could be toppled at any time by a rebellion from her own benches.

Given that we know all these things, are we not entitled to know what she does with the information in these reports?

Did she know about Stephen Crabb and Mark Garnier, for example?

Mr Crabb – a man who once claimed that homosexuality is “curable” – has been accused of “sexting” a woman after he rejected her application for a job in his office.

And Mr Garnier allegedly called his female secretary “sugar tits”, and gave her money to buy two vibrators at a sex shop in Soho – standing outside the store while she did it.

Click on their names (highlighted above) for the full stories if you haven’t read them.

As Mr Garnier is a minister for international trade, an investigation has been launched into whether he has breached the Ministerial Code. This Writer has no doubt that he will be found not to have done so – partly because I can’t find anything in the Ministerial Code covering sexism and/or sexual indiscretions, and partly because the ultimate judge in such cases in the prime minister – Theresa May.

And it seems likely she already knew about Mr Garnier’s behaviour via the weekly “Ins and Outs” report.

Let us remember: Blackmail is a crime. It would be inappropriate for me, or anyone else, to accuse the prime minister of engaging in such an activity without evidence.

That being said, given the information available, we are well within our rights to ask whether she has received information about ministers who have been implicated in inappropriate sexual activities – and what she has done with it.

Perhaps Mr Corbyn could ask her about it, at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.


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Could Joel Dommett’s Skype sex confession halt rise in blackmail-related suicides over ‘sextortion’?

Joel Dommett admitted he had been made to look like a turkey for following his heart, not his head [Image: ITV].

Joel Dommett admitted he had been made to look like a turkey for following his heart, not his head [Image: ITV].

The revelation that online ‘sextortion’ is on the rise reminds me very much of comedian Joel Dommett’s story about being induced into cybersex on Skype.

He revealed that he had been “catfished” – lured into a relationship by someone who had adopted a fictional online persona – during the current series of I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, on ITV1.

He was encouraged into carrying out certain private activities on a Skype call with this imposter, who then posted it on the Internet immediately before the comedian went into the jungle.

As a result of his confession, Google searches for the clip skyrocketed – but at least Mr Dommett had taken possession of the incident. By admitting what had happened, and his own stupidity in participating, he had ensured that the villain could not blackmail him.

As he admits, though, it’s still a very stupid thing to do.

Perhaps there should be a new strand of sex education in school – teaching youngsters the common-sense fact that sexting someone you’ve never met is extremely silly and may lead to similar situations.

They could use Mr Dommett’s confession in the lessons. Would that – at least partially – cut down on these incidents and their tragic consequences?

Four men killed themselves in the last year after being blackmailed as part of an increasing cyber “sextortion” racket.

International gangs of organised criminals are targeting more and more young men by luring them into potentially compromising positions, the National Crime Agency said.

The number of people reporting financially-motivated cyber enabled blackmails more than doubled from 385 in 2015 to 864 up to November 2016.

This number has risen from nine in 2011.

Sextortion is a form of blackmail where criminals use fake identities to befriend victims online – using websites such as Facebook, Skype or Linkedin – before persuading them to perform sexual acts in front of their webcam.

Source: Sextortion: Rise in blackmail-related suicides over sexual images shared online | The Independent

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