Tory minister says male MP pinned her against wall and told her she ‘wants him’

Anne Marie-Trevelyan reveals incident with former colleague

Adam Forrest
Friday 29 April 2022 12:37 BST
Tory minister says male MP pinned her against wall and told her she 'wants him'

Cabinet minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said a male MP once pinned her against a wall and told her she “wants him”, as she revealed the scale of sexual harassment at Westminster.

The international trade secretary said female MPs were still subjected to “wandering hands” and other forms of abuse, saying she had been touched inappropriately around half a dozen times.

Asked what kind of harassment she had experienced, she told LBC she had been “pinned up against a wall by a male MP – who is no longer in the House I’m pleased to say – declaring I must want him because he was a powerful man.”

Ms Trevelyan said the incident happened “a number of years ago”. She suggested that a toxic mix of alcohol and arrogance still led some male MPs to hold onto “misogynistic” views and behaviour.

“All of us as women in parliament have been subjected to inappropriate language, to wandering hands … it doesn’t change,” the Conservative minister told Sky News.

“There are a few for whom too much drink, or a view that somehow being elected makes them god’s gift to women, that they can suddenly please themselves,” said Ms Trevelyan.

She added: “It’s never okay anywhere. It’s not okay in Westminster either. If you’re a bloke – keep your hands in your pockets. Behave as you would if you had your daughter in the room.”

Ms Trevelyan later shared on Twitter an email she received from a man who said she found her remarks about sexual harassment “annoying” and facetious”.

He accused her of suggesting that all men who do not have their hands tucked away “can be suspected of being a sexual predator!” The minister said her remarks had brought out views which “misunderstand the realities”.

It comes as the Tory party comes under increasing pressure to suspend an MP accused by two female colleagues of watching porn in the Commons.

Labour and some senior Tories have demanded to know why the whip has not been withdrawn after he was reported to the Tory chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris during a meeting on Tuesday evening.

It understood the chief whip’s office knows the identify of the accused MP. But the Tory party has only suggested that an independent complaints scheme take up the issue – admitting that only witnesses can trigger an inquiry by making a formal complaint.

The Telegraph has reported that the Tory at the centre of the storm entered parliament before 2015. Government sources have indicated the man is a backbench MP.

Caroline Nokes told The Independent that “in any other workplace” someone facing such an accusation would be suspended, while a second Tory MP said the party should “sack him now”.

However, Ms Trevelyan refused to say whether the MP should be suspended – saying it was up to the witnesses to make a formal complaint to the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS).

“The grievance committee system is in place,” said the international trade secretary. “The ladies who saw this completely unacceptable behaviour have been encouraged to use the formal system. And I hope very much they will [use it], or indeed have, I don’t know.”

On the claim a male colleague watched porn in the chamber, Ms Trevelyan added: “It’s just completely unacceptable. Why has he got the time? Why does he think that’s okay?”

'Keep your hands in your pockets', Tory minister tells male MPs

But cabinet minister Suella Braverman has said the MP should be suspended, and should no longer be an MP, if the porn-watching claim is substantiated. Mr Johnson’s attorney general said some men in parliament behaved like “animals”.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has demanded to know why the Tory party is stalling when the accused MP’s identity is known to the whips’ office.

“The Tory party knows who this individual is … I think that they should deal with it and deal with it sooner rather than later and take appropriate action,” he said on Thursday.

Boris Johnson called the alleged behaviour “obviously unacceptable” – but insisted a referral to the ICGS was the correct action to take.

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