Westminster sex scandal widens: deputy PM investigated
And sleaze claims extend to opposition as Labour Party official accused of rape
Damien Green, the Prime Minister's most trusted Cabinet ally, is the latest MP to be caught up in the widening government sex scandal amid claims he made inappropriate advances on a Tory activist 30 years his junior.
According to The Daily Telegraph, Downing Street yesterday said May had asked the Cabinet Secretary to investigate the allegations against deputy PM Green - whose official title is First Secretary of State.
They involve an academic and activist named Kate Maltby, who says she received a suggestive text message from Green after a photo of her wearing a corset appeared in a newspaper. Writing in The Times today, Maltby, 31, also describes a meeting that took place in a bar, when she and Green discussed her career and sexual affairs within Parliament. She claims he “fleetingly” touched her knee, and says the encounter left her “angry”.
Responding to the “deeply hurtful” allegations, Green, 61, said it was “absolutely and completely untrue that I’ve ever made sexual advances on Ms Maltby”.
The Tories are not the only party in the spotlight. A Labour activist went public yesterday with allegations that a Labour Party official raped her at a 2011 political event. Bex Bailey told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme that she was urged not to report the rape to the police, because it might “damage” her career.
A third woman told The Guardian about an alleged incident in which an unnamed MP pinned her to a bed during a parliamentary trip last year.
The accusations come after an unverified spreadsheet alleging sexual assault and harassment by dozens of MPs was leaked last week. Tory MP Michael Fabricant dismissed the list as gossip.
“It is a strange hotchpotch of rumor and gossip,” Fabricant told the Daily Mail. “I am listed over a single incident where I was said to be ‘inappropriate with a male journalist in a taxi’. What does that mean? Was it a risque joke that I told?”
It is unclear whether the allegations will lead to MPs losing their jobs.
“It’s very easy to see how the scandal could see the Government lose its majority on paper, if enough MPs are caught up in it, have the whip removed, and notionally end up sitting as independents,” says the New Statesman’s Stephen Bush.