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.
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.