Young Liberals Condemn Cable For Defending Rennard

The LibDems’ youth wing has condemned Vince Cable’s defence of Lord Rennard yesterday. Cable told the BBC he didn’t regret having the pervy peer help out on his campaign and rather unwisely told LibDem women to “move on”. Unsurprisingly that has gone down like a cup of sick with the Young Liberals:

“We at Young Liberals are disappointed to hear Vince Cable defending Lord Rennard’s involvement during his election campaign this year. Alistair Webster QC, who conducted an earlier investigation into the Rennard allegations on behalf of the party, made a statement saying “let me be clear from the outset that the evidence suggests that Lord Rennard’s behaviour has caused distress to a number of women, so much so that they came forward several years after the event in question”.

As part of Young Liberals Policy, Lord Rennard is banned from attending all Young Liberals events, and our members can refuse to work with him without fear of disciplinary action.”

LibDem insiders say the truth is doddery Cable is totally out of touch with the modern world on sexual harassment and doesn’t understand why LibDem women have a problem with Rennard. They say Vince has to be strong-armed into making any critical noises about Rennard and had to be talked down from giving him an official job. LibDems have been depressed by Cable’s tin ear on this issue…

Cable: I Don’t Regret Having Rennard on My Campaign

Vince Cable has told BBC 5 Live’s Emma Barnett that he does not regret having Lord Rennard help out on his campaign in Twickenham in June. Confronted with Guido’s story that Rennard was in Vince’s campaign office on polling day, went leafleting outside Twickenham station and posed for photos with Cable and his constituents, Cable admitted:

“He did come as a volunteer. I had hundreds of volunteers. He’s a party member; he came along and did some canvassing and supported us, as he did with other MPs and candidates. I don’t regret he came as a volunteer. The position is, he’s an ordinary party member, he comes and helps and knocks on doors like hundreds of other people, and he came and supported my campaign.”

Cable also backed Rennard’s continuing LibDem membership, saying the party should “move on”:

“He clearly is the focus of a great deal of critical comment. I want the party to move on… I don’t want every conversation to go back to what happened 10 years ago with him. His position is not a comfortable one, but he is still a party member and I think that’s where it should rest.”

Not sure LibDem women will be particularly impressed at being told to “move on”…

Emma Dent Coad: Give 13 Year-Olds “Explicit” Sex Manuals

Labour MP Emma Dent Coad said “explicit” sex manuals should be given to 13 year-olds to help them “embrace the joys of sex”, Guido can reveal. In a extraordinary letter to The Guardian newspaper, mother of three Dent Coad wrote 13 year-olds should be encouraged to take part in “heavy petting” and taught “the delights of prolonged snogs, slow caresses, fumbling through clothing.” She said:

“Whatever happened to heavy petting? Teenage sex, according to the government, your own editorial and all current debate centres exclusively on penetrative sex. Have we forgotten the delights of prolonged snogs, slow caresses, fumbling through clothing? An explicit manual on heavy petting could be given to all 13-year-olds. Embrace the joys of sex; avoid the dangers.”

Guido has repeatedly put this to Dent Coad over the last two days. She has declined to comment. It’s another Jared O’Mara case – Labour clearly didn’t vet this candidate, and now the people of Kensington have ended up with a fruitcake for an MP…

Top Downing Street Aide Touched My Breast in Number 10

Daisy Goodwin, creator of ITV series Victoria, says a senior Downing Street adviser put his hand on her breast when they met at Number 10 between 2010 and 2016. Goodwin tells the Radio Times the aide was a few years younger than her, so likely to be in his forties:

“The official, who was a few years younger than me, showed me into a room dominated by a portrait of Mrs T and we sat at a table carved, he told me, from one piece of wood. Then to my surprise he put his feet on my chair (we were sitting side by side) and said that my sunglasses made me look like a Bond girl.

At the end of the meeting we both stood up and the official, to my astonishment, put his hand on my breast. I looked at the hand and then in my best Lady Bracknell voice said: ‘Are you actually touching my breast?’ He dropped his hand and laughed nervously… I wasn’t traumatised, I was cross, but by the next day it had become an anecdote, The Day I Was Groped In Number 10.”

Former Downing Street aides have been speculating which of them can’t be left alone in a room…

Kelvin Hopkins: Kerry McCarthy Story Coming

Kelvin Hopkins has given another interview to Skwawkbox apparently preempting an imminent Guardian story making new allegations about his conduct. Hopkins says fellow Labour MP Kerry McCarthy has made complaints about him:

“I have been again been put under further pressure by two press organisations claiming to have received complaints about me from my parliamentary colleague, Kerry McCarthy MP. This has caused me immense personal hurt and utter dismay.

I have known Kerry McCarthy MP personally and professionally since about 1993. She was Chair of my Constituency Labour Party. She sat on a joint local Labour Party Agency Committee with me. We both stood as selection candidates for Luton North in 1995. She became a MP in 2005 and has been a member of the Shadow Cabinet. She is a person of substantial standing on the national stage and I counted her as a friend.

If it is true that my Parliamentary colleague and long time friend has made a complaint about me via the press, then I am deeply saddened by this. I cannot understand why a Parliamentarian of such experience and standing, who is also such a long term friend, would not have told me that she was unhappy with any aspect of our friendship rather than going straight to the national press.”

Story coming tonight?

UPDATE: Kerry McCarthy alleges she has received unwanted attention from fellow party MP since mid-1990s:

“None of it is very tangible. If I had told anyone, it would have just been like gossip, instead of a complaint – you’ve seen what it is. But it is really inappropriate.” 

Kelvin made overtures to her which were not rude, lewd or physical, just unwanted.

 

Nat Cool: SNP MPs Harassing Sports and Social Barmaids

One angle of the Westminster sleaze scandal that hasn’t had much attention is the rowdy antics of SNP MPs. The Nats profess to loathe Westminster and all its excesses, though the truth is their representatives in SW1 are some of the worst offenders. Alice Bailey is a former barmaid at the Sports and Social, which is usually the researchers’ watering hole but has been taken over in recent years by Nats old enough to be their fathers. She tells the Sun an SNP MP begged her for sex two hours into her first shift. Guido previously told the story of another young barmaid at Sports, who was told to “f**k off” by an SNP MP in his fifties when she tried to put a stop to his drunken behaviour:

“A young barmaid, only in her early twenties yet a seasoned veteran when it comes to turfing out unruly Westminster soaks, approaches a new SNP MP and politely asks him to pack it in. Words are exchanged. Multiple witnesses allege a drunken ‘f— you’ is uttered. Defeated, the barmaid retreats behind the bar to mocking male laughter. So upset is she by the incident, she will leave her job a few weeks later.”

Cybernats forever go on about “Wastemonster“. What they don’t see is how much their MPs enjoy it after hours…

Fatherly Advice for Suspended David Prescott

The Mirror reveals this morning that David Prescott, Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet liason aide, has been suspended from the Labour Party. Fortunately the Mirror have a columnist who knows how he would sort out the sex pest scandal, his father, John Prescott. Currently David is suffering his suspension in silence…

Vaz Investigation Still Ongoing A Year Later

What with all the talk of scandal in Westminster, the mind inevitably wanders to… Keith Vaz. It’s now more than 12 months since an official complaint about Vaz’s conduct was first made to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards (in September 2016). The Commissioner was asked to investigate whether Vaz broke the Code of Conduct for MPs when he was caught offering to pay for drugs for gay prostitutes. Vaz was Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee which handles prostitution and drugs legislation…

The Standards Commissioner said yesterday:

“The Commissioner doesn’t give updates and it is not possible to give an expected date for completion.”

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen, who submitted the complaint, said:

“I’m rapidly losing confidence in the parliamentary standards procedures. It often said that justice delayed is justice denied.”

Let’s hope all these new probes and inquiries and probes don’t take so long…

Assisting the Cabinet Office with Inquiries

ATTENTION:
Sue Gray
Director General, Propriety & Ethics Team

BEHAVIOUR OF DAMIAN GREEN

Since you haven’t contacted us with any inquiries about Damian Green we thought a note might be of assistance to your investigation.

In 2008 a parliamentary researcher contacted us and said she had been propositioned and invited by Damian Green to come back home with him after being told that his “wife was away”. She was furious and wanted us to expose him. We explained that would risk her name coming out if he denied it and sued. She did not want her name to come out and asked that we keep the matter confidential. Subsequently in an article we mentioned in passing that Damian Green was “not safe in taxis”. An intermediary contacted us to ask that we remove the reference to Mr Green, we declined on the grounds that it was true.

Recently, after we published the above story, a woman civil servant got in contact to tell us that she had been given an almost identical invitation. She is married and also would not want to be identified. She did however want us to know that the 2008 story was definitely not a one off.

If you make inquiries and guarantee confidentiality to informants we are confident you will find a widespread pattern of behaviour which is regularly very awkward for the young women Damian Green comes into contact with.

Top Corbynista Bragged: ‘Being Mates With Corbyn Gets You Closer to Women’

Yesterday the Observer reported:

“The Observer has been told by several sources that another Corbyn ally bragged about how his friendship with the Labour leader allowed him to get closer to women. There were also multiple claims that he asked a senior female party figure whether she would “twerk against him”. However no official complaint has been made to the party.”

Guido has been told several stories about a senior Corbyn ally who is accused of sexually harassing women. Staff are too scared to complain. He bragged last year that he uses his relationship with Jezza to get close to young women – and was reprimanded by a senior party figure for making the comment at the time. Sources say he keeps asking young female Labour members to go clubbing with him. The NEC is writing a harassment policy in an effort to clamp down on this…

LibDem HQ Accused of Hushing Up Rape Allegation

The LibDems have finally been dragged into the Westminster sex scandal after a series of allegations were raised online over the weekend. One activist claims LibDem HQ hushed up a rape complaint made against a party activist: “the general LibDem HQ approach to dealing with sexual assault complaints is to say ‘report it to the police’ and then hush it up.”

A LibDem spokesperson confirmed to Guido a party member has been suspended:

“These allegations were referred to the police for investigation. A member of the party is suspended pending the outcome of that investigation. If an allegation is made against a party member, the disciplinary procedure is triggered immediately with an investigator talking to witnesses.

“If someone has an allegation of a criminal nature against a member of the party, we would urge them to go to the police. If they were unable to do so, we would refer it to the police on their behalf.

“Our party has a clear and robust complaints procedure set out on our website. We take any such complaints extremely seriously. If anyone has any complaints, we would urge them to come forward as set out on our website, and our pastoral care officer will make prompt contact.”

Meanwhile, a website called “LibDemsToo” has been set-up by party volunteers to catalogue “a sexism within the UK Liberal Democrats” and provide “useful links for taking action”. One account reads:

“A fellow male activist of a similar age (20s) was drunk at conference and when saying goodbye at the bar he tried sticking his tongue down my throat. It was horrible and I’m wary to be around him (especially after he has had a drink as he can’t seem to control himself).”

Doesn’t look good…

Pincher Quits as Whip

Chris Pincher has tonight quit as a government whip and referred himself to both the Conservative Party’s complaints procedure and the police. It follows the Mail on Sunday’s front page story: “Top Tory’s Bathrobe Pass at Male Aide”. A Downing Street spokesman said:

“After several conversations with the Chief Whip, in order to address a number of questions Mr. Pincher has voluntarily referred himself both to the Party’s complaints procedure and the Police, and has voluntarily stood down from the Whips Office in the meantime.”

More swift action from Julian Smith…

Sunday Sleaze Round-Up

The much-anticipated Sunday front pages make grim reading for the government. Theresa May’s de facto deputy Damian Green is tonight accused of having “extreme porn” found on one of his parliamentary computers. The Sunday Times says the discovery was made by cops when they raided Green’s office in 2008. Former Met Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick confirmed to the paper that his officers had found the material. Green tweeted a statement calling the claims “false, disreputable political smears” and says he was not informed of any porn being found. 

The paper counters that it has spoken to a police source other than Quick who also claims to have seen the porn. The splash reveals Quick will give evidence on Monday to Whitehall ethics supremo Sue Gray, who is leading the probe into Green. Kate Maltby, who tells The Sunday Times she knows difference between a hand and a tablecloth. will also give evidence and gives a sit down interview to the paper. Can Green cling on much longer?

Also in the Sunday Times, Tory MP Andrew Bridgen goes on the record saying he reported concerns about the behaviour of fellow backbencher Dan Poulter to the whips in 2010 – but claims he was ignored. Bridgen says he informed whips of comments made by female colleagues alleging Poulter put his hand up skirts. Bridgen has now reported Poulter using the new complaints procedure and an investigation is underway by the new disciplinary committee. Poulter denies the allegations.

Meanwhile, senior government whip Chris Pincher is under pressure as the Mail on Sunday splashes with the headline: Top Tory’s Bathrobe Pass At Male Aide“. Pincher is accused of trying to untuck the shirt of former Olympic rower and Tory aide Alex Story after taking him back to his London home. Story calls the MP “a pound shop Harvey Weinstein”. The story also references a widely heard rumour about Pincher trying it on with one-term Labour MP Tom Blenkinsop about which he refuses to commentDifficult to see how Pincher can remain a whip…

The Sunday Telegraph also turns fire on the whips office, reporting that concerns about the behaviour of both Fallon and Charlie Elphicke – who last night had the whip suspended – were raised repeatedly. Expect there to be considerable discussion about the propriety of the whips system. Tough first week for Julian Smith…

The Observer reveals Michael Fallon’s resignation was forced by journalist Jane Merrick. She says she told Number 10 at 5pm on Wednesday afternoon that the former Defence Secretary tried to kiss her when she was a 29-year-old reporter. It was the last straw for May…

The Sun on Sunday and Sunday People report allegations that an unnamed Tory MP sexually assaulted a Labour MP in a taxi. It’s alleged a date rape drug was used…

Earlier this evening Channel 4 News broadcast allegations that Tory backbencher Daniel Kawczynski asked a young female researcher to go on a date with a business contact. Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing says she loudly reprimanded Kawczynski for his request during a confrontation in one of the division lobbies. Kawczynski says he did ask a researcher to have coffee with a contact but denies a business deal was involved…

A huge spread of Sunday sleaze for the Tories to deal with tomorrow. Heads must surely roll… 

Clive: She’s Lying

Clive Lewis tells Sky News his accuser is “lying” but goes on to admit “we’re in a different environment, it’s a different situation post-Weinstein and that is sad”. He also says he doesn’t grope women’s bottoms “as a rule” because “that’s not how I roll”. Not sure that is the best defence – Labour still failing to suspend him…

This allegedly happened at the same event where he said on your knees bitch swigging lager from a can of Red Stripe. In the video he seemed pretty reckless that night, alcohol had been taken and he was in a party mood. The woman complainant has a witness… 

PLP to Consider Banning Labour MPs from Sports & Social “Safe Space”

John Mann is telling his colleagues “We’ve all known for too long that there are people in this place who are best avoided.” He is presenting his “Stop the Sleaze” plan to the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) meeting on Monday. It includes a ban on MPs using the Sports & Social Club bar popular with young staff…

Mann wants MPs banned from using the Sports and Social bar in parliament and for it to be a safe space for young staff away from the groping hands of drunk MPs. His plan also includes compulsory training for all staff of MPs and constituency staff with a clear system of warnings for MPs when it comes to conduct.  Shockingly he demands a commitment from the Labour whips and the Labour leadership to not hide reports of abuse or harassment to protect the party’s interests. Implicitly he is accusing the Labour whips and the leadership of covering up scandals.

Mann wants Labour MPs who have been found to have sexually assaulted or harassed people to have to publicly apologise to the victim, to agree to stand down at the next general election and/or have the whip removed if appropriate, mandatory retraining from the Labour Women’s Network and for them to donate a proportion of their MP’s salary to charities that help victims of sexual harassment or abuse. Guido can’t see the PLP going along with this plan…

Corbyn’s Office Sat on New Hopkins Allegations All Week

Corbyn’s office was first told about the Kelvin Hopkins allegations last year and yet still promoted him to the Shadow Cabinet. The cover-up deepened this week. Guido understands several news organisations contacted Labour with details of the allegations against Hopkins 72 hours ago. Labour refused to respond directly to the claims about Hopkins, only issuing a general statement. They only suspended him when the victim, Ava Etemadzadeh, went on the record to the Telegraph last night. Would Labour have done anything Hopkins without him being exposed on the front page of a newspaper? Questions to answer for the Leader’s Office…

Should Stephen Crabb Be An Honourable Member?

Jess Phillips says Stephen Crabb should be suspended from the party by Theresa May after he was caught (again) sexting a teenage girl. Is she wrong?

Corbyn Promoted Hopkins AFTER Sexual Harassment Complaints

December 2015: 24 year old Ava Etemadzadeh contacts the Labour whips office to make sexual harassment allegations against Kelvin Hopkins.

January 2016: Jeremy Corbyn’s office receives a written complaint from a regional Labour representative detailing the allegations against Hopkins.

June 2016: Corbyn promotes Kelvin Hopkins to the Shadow Cabinet.

November 2017: Labour suspends Hopkins.

This looks pretty bad for Labour and Jez…

Full Litany of Abuse Claims Being Covered Up By Labour

Worth reminding everyone that sexual harassment is not a party political issue – it happens in all parties at Westminster with no exception. Labour has so far succeeded in preventing the names of any of its alleged sex pests from coming out. This is the astonishingly dark litany of abuse claims against Labour MPs and officials made over the last few days:

  • A senior Labour official is accused of telling young Labour activist and former NEC member Bex Bailey not to report a rape because it could “damage” her career
  • John Mann says he is aware of a second Labour rape allegation that has yet to come out
  • A senior Labour MP has been reported to the Leader’s Office for extremely serious abuse of a woman – Labour won’t reveal his name
  • A second senior Labour MP is being privately accused of sexual assault of a woman – they won’t reveal his name either
  • A third senior Labour MP is accused of “wandering hands” and being over-friendly at student discos
  • The New Statesman reports other “allegations of sexual misconduct that the party advised women to drop”
  • Politico reports another Labour MP was accused of “serious sexual harassment” by a staffer but “the party did nothing”. Staff says sexual abuse is “endemic” within the ranks and that the complaints procedure “is not fit for purpose”.
  • A senior member of Labour’s NEC has been accused of sexually harassing women
  • Labour MP Chi Onwurah told the Commons she had raised complaints about MPs’ behaviour to young staff in parliament’s bars
  • A Labour advisor in Westminster sexually assaulted a 20 year-old activist on a dancefloor, he “forced his hands down my trousers, feeling my flaccid penis and clutching my face to try and kiss me.”

As yet no Labour MPs’ names have come out, and many of these allegations are considerably more serious than hands on knees and dodgy text messages. At the moment the media focus is off Labour…

Former Whip Explains How They Could Cover Up Sex Abuse Scandal

At PMQs Lisa Nandy raised this clip of former Tory whip Tim Fortescue explaining back in 1995 how party whips could help cover up a potential sex abuse scandal. Nandy says she brought it up with Theresa May three years ago.[…] Read the rest

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Quote of the Day

Jo Swinson on Chris Rennard…

“Vince — and Tim before him — have repeatedly, publicly said Rennard is not welcome anywhere near their frontbench team, even as an adviser. I remain deeply frustrated that he was not expelled from the party through its disciplinary process. It just feels wrong, and I do not want Lord Rennard to continue as a member of the party. As far as I am concerned, he is not welcome.”

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