May warns Damian Green’s allies to take victims seriously & More…

Who? Shock at MoD’s latest recruit Gavin Williamson

Shock and curiosity were the prevailing sentiments at the Ministry of Defence yesterday after Gavin Williamson was named the new secretary of state.

“Gavin who?” said several insiders as the former chief whip’s name flashed up on television screens and across Twitter feeds.

Mr Williamson, 41, is the youngest person to take charge of Britain’s armed forces, replacing Sir Michael Fallon, 65, who resigned on Wednesday after signalling that his behaviour with women had fallen short of expected standards.

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May under fire after key ally Gavin Williamson gets defence job

MPs and military attack Fallon replacement

Theresa May has been warned that she would not survive renewed coup attempts after the promotion of her close ally Gavin Williamson to defence secretary was met with anger.

The appointment of Mr Williamson, a chief whip with no departmental experience, to replace Sir Michael Fallon brought a backlash from Conservative MPs and military figures.

Senior Tories also warned that the loss of Mr Williamson, 41, from Downing Street could destabilise the prime minister as she faces political challenges this month and a sexual misconduct scandal at Westminster.

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May warns Damian Green’s allies to take victims seriously

Theresa May has insisted that women complaining about sexual harassment at Westminster must be taken seriously in what will be seen as a warning to allies of her deputy, Damian Green.

The prime minister’s spokesman said that she wanted a climate in which victims could come forward, following media attacks on Kate Maltby, the 31-year-old journalist who alleges that she was subjected to inappropriate advances by Mr Green.

The Cabinet Office is investigating claims that he touched her knee “fleetingly” in a pub in Waterloo in 2015 and sent a suggestive text message after she was photographed wearing a corset. Mr Green strongly denies the claims made in an article in The Times and has instructed Kingsley Napley, the libel lawyers.

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Jo Tanner: my drink was spiked in MPs’ bar

In 20 years of working in Westminster, I’ve encountered and engaged in banter with MPs, peers, business figures and a host of journalists, advisers and researchers of both sexes and, like many, I’ve experienced the odd hand where it wasn’t invited. None of this, even the sexual innuendo or physical contact, ever made me particularly uncomfortable but I could understand how it is different for others.

My approach was to make a sarcastic remark, remove the hand or simply step away. I can honestly say I thought it all pretty harmless, but earlier this year was the first time I felt frightened and violated in the “Westminster village” after my drink was spiked with a date rape drug.

I don’t tell this story to invite sympathy but as an example of how even when concerns are raised, or a crime reported, the system can be woefully poor.

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