A Channel 4 News investigation finds that one in three people working in the sleazy booze-fuelled world of Westminster have experienced some form of sexual harassment at the hands of pervy MPs. One in five had witnessed some other poor young staffer being sexually harassed and over half said they had first or second-hand experience of hands-on politicians. Today’s Mail and Independent splash on the story.
The Tories have responded by ordering their MPs to sign a new code of conduct and implementing a grievance procedure for staff:
The code of conduct acts as a basic statement of what should be best practice in the workplace for Conservative Members and their staff. It explains the rights and responsibilities which are expected of both the employer and the employee.
The grievance procedure is available for staff to use if a grievance arises with their MP as employer. It protects both parties involved, brings with it consistency and fairness, and in doing so upholds the reputation of the Party and of Parliament. It is based upon a three stage process of mediation, grievance hearing and appeal. The process conforms to relevant employment law, ACAS guidance and HR best practice and is added as a schedule to the contract of employment.
They should get everyone at Number 10 to sign it too…
Jailed expenses crook Jim Devine has been ordered to pay his former office manager £18,000 in damages after a judge ruled that he had defamed her to cover up his own criminality. Marion Kinley alleged Devine had “stated I’d stolen significant sums of money while office manager and the reason I did this was because I had a serious gambling problem”. The judge agreed “that when he made these statement he knew them not to be true and that they were made maliciously” and that Devine’s evidence was “incredible” and “implausible”. This is one Jim won’t be able to charge to the taxpayer…
UKIP claim to have called the cops in after their head office was “bombarded” by “really nasty ‘hate’ phone calls” ahead of tonight’s debate. The party says “a group obviously working to a concerted plan” has subjected the old dears who man the phones at UKIP HQ to “clearly insane” abuse, and they have passed recordings of the “horrible messages” to the police. Things are so bad that they have had to install a system where all withheld numbers are automatically blocked. Nick Clegg did say he wanted to get more passionate…
Today in court Nigel Evans denied sexually assaulting several alleged male victims, accusing the prosecution of trying to paint him as “a cross between Alan Clark, Oscar Wilde and Benny Hill”. Evans said he could not recall two alleged assaults that had taken place while he was drunk, also dismissing claims he put his hands down another man’s boxer shorts on his sofa as “affection”, arguing that “there was affection between us… As you can see from the texts that are available, [there are] kisses at the end of them”. On the alleged sofa incident, Evans said he was looking for:
“A reaction. Hopefully that he might turn around, that something might have happened, that the pass would be accepted and we might take that further in a direction which we both would be happy… It’s amazing what two grown people can do on sofas, Mr Heywood.”
He says he stopped at the man’s stomach. The case continues…
In a statement the Crown Prosecution Service said:
“We were asked to consider whether there was a case for fraud by abuse of position and theft by disposal of assets belonging to the woman’s mother. We were also asked to consider whether there was a case of fraud by false representation to Northamptonshire Council in relation to the mother’s assets.
“The evidence showed: firstly that the woman’s mother considered the suspects’ conduct to be acceptable; secondly that the suspects acted openly in declaring the sale of the mother’s house to the Council; thirdly that no element of dishonesty could be proved. Therefore we have advised the police to take no further action.
“We understand there is ongoing civil litigation. For the avoidance of doubt our advice to police relates solely to possible criminal action.”
Mr and Mrs Bone are free to go…
Eric Joyce has pleaded guilty to abusive behaviour and been fined £1,500 over last May’s incident at Edinburgh airport. He also has to pay the airport worker he abused a hundred quid over an incident sources close to Joyce described to Guido as:
“Left phone on plane, went to bloke at BA counter saying ‘any chance of getting my phone back before the plane turns around & goes back to London?’ Bloke said words to the effect of ‘No, I’m busy’. Eric said ‘But my phone’, bloke said ‘Stop going on or I’m calling the cops’. Eric said ‘please do’, cops arrived, Eric said ‘B******s to this, I’m off’, one cop said Ok, one cop said not so fast. No drink, no hitting, which is nice.”
He says he is undecided about whether he wants to stay on as an MP after 2015:
“My instinct is to stay but I don’t know how I will feel in a few days. I am very embarrassed that this has happened. My constituents have seen this before, so they might think other apologies are not meant, but they are.”
Guido looks forward to hearing all about it on Eric’s blog…
Preston Crown Court today heard from the sixth alleged Nigel Evans sex offence victim. The witness told how after a night at parliament’s Strangers bar, Evans invited him to have a look at his new kitchen. When they arrived, the witness claimed Evans put his hands “all over” him and “tried to kiss” him. Evans than allegedly touched his crotch as said “you’re gorgeous”. The court heard the witness sent an email to a friend explaining how “he (Evans) pushed me into a private room & tried to do stuff to me. Eek”. The trial continues…
Today Preston Crown Court heard evidence from several current and former MPs responsible for disciplining Nigel Evans over his alleged sex offences. Former whip Michael Fabricant began by testifying that the allegations against Evans seemed “out of character”. John Randall, former assistant whip, recounted being told by the alleged victim how he had woken up while being sexually assaulted by Evans on his sofa. Also attending that meeting was former chief whip Patrick McLoughlin, who admitted Evans’ version of events did not differ considerably from the victim’s and so he was warned of his future conduct. Randall said the incident was considered “disciplinary not criminal”.
It was also claimed that the whips tried to talk the victim out of his demand that Evans resign. Tory PRU wonk Iain Corby claimed that Evans’ fourth alleged victim told whips the MP should not stand for re-election in 2010 but eventually agreed to compromise after the being asked “do you really want Nigel’s career to end?” This afternoon another alleged victim claimed that Evans “cupped his genitals” in the full view of the Commons’ Strangers bar. The trial continues…
It can now be reported that Tory MP Sarah Wollaston met with an alleged victim of Nigel Evans and suggested he contact the police. The alleged victim told Wollaston that Evans had put his hand inside his boxer shorts, at which point she told him to contact the Speaker John Bercow. Bercow said that since the incident did not take place on the parliamentary estate it was not a case for him, so Wollaston provided the alleged victim with contact numbers for the police. Another witness recalls receiving a text from the alleged victim about the incident: “I believe the phrase was 100% penis grabbing”. The defence contends the alleged victim is making his story up. The trial continues…
Guido’s Column | Sun
NUT’s Loony Defence of Status Quo | Jago Pearson
A Dozen Reasons to Be Cheerful | John McTernan
Political Bloggers Are Equal Opportunities Attackers | ConHome
Michael Gove Should Resign | Conservative Women
Sarah Wollaston’s Naming and Shaming of Bloggers | LibDemVoice
Fraser Nelson: Put Your Money on Ed Miliband to Win | Guardian
Guido Fawkes is Too Aggressive | The Times
Ditch Tobacco Plain Packaging | Grassroots Conservatives
What Farage, Boris and Rob Ford Have in Common | William Walter
Labour Spell New Adviser’s Name Wrong | ITV
Rod Liddle on the loony UN sexism special rapporteur:
“There is more sexism in Britain than in any other country in the world, according to a mad woman who has been sent here by the United Nations.
Rashida Manjoo is a part-time professor of law at Cape Town University in the totally non-sexist country of South Africa (otherwise known as Rape Capital Of The World).
Mrs Magoo has been wandering around with her notebook and is appalled by the sexist “boys’ club” culture here, apparently.
I don’t doubt we still have sexism in the UK. But is it worse than in, say, Saudi Arabia, d’you think, honey-lamb? Or about 175 other countries? Get a grip, you doolally old bat.”