MPdB > sleaze

Sleaze, 2017-18


The list runs an ascending date sequence. To reverse the order, click the date heading.

The Dossier - The corset - Labour List - Conclusions
First instance: Bex Bailey - Stephen Crabb - Charlie Elphicke - Ava Etemadzadeh - Michael Fallon - Mark Garnier - Damian Green - Julia Hartley-Brewer - Kelvin Hopkins - Carwyn Jones - Kwasi Kwarteng - Andrea Leadsome - Clive Lewis - Ivan Lewis - Kerry McCarthy - Mark McDonald - Kate Maltby - Jane Merrick - Jared O'Mara - Chris Pincher - Daniel Poulter - David Prescott - Dominic Raab - Alex Rowley - Amber Rudd - Carl Sargeant - Bob Stewart - Karl Turner

Date Events
5th October The Harvey Weinstein allegations began with a story in the NY Times, leading to his resignation, disgrace and the MeToo Twitter bandwagon. This spread to other areas of public life.
Wednesday 25th October In British politics, it began with Labour's, Jared O'Mara (Lab, Sheffield, Hallam, vanquisher of dear old Cleggy). He had tweeted unpleasantly in the past (in his early 20s) and more recently had been rude ("ugly bitch") to a constituent. Mirror, Guardian
Sunday 29th October Mark Garnier (Con) admitted calling his secretary "sugar tits" and asking her to buy sex toys.
Monday 30th October

Tory sleaze dossier
The Times subsequently reported that this was when an image of a spreadsheet listing Tory sexual misbehaviour began circulating in Westminster. It was published in the US; UK papers have shown it with redactions - aSleaze Dossiers fuller versions emerge, the image below, with illustrations, is from the Mail.
5 Nov - updates
A semi-unredacted version is on Pride's Purge
And a fully unredacted version at Craig Murray's blog, pleasingly named The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie.
Monday 30th October Michael Fallon, the long-time defense secretary was reported to have touched reporter Julie Hartley-Brewer's knee in 2002. Ms. H-B regarded the event as unimportant. He resigned the following day, apparently after failing to be able to reassure Mrs May that there would not be more to follow. On Thursday there were reports that Fallon had been unpleasant to Andrea Leadsom, but both denied this.
Monday 30th October Julie Hartley-Brewer issued a statement and tweeted thus,
J H-B 30Oct17
Source: Elle
Tuesday 31st October Bex Bailey (Labour activist, past NEC member) reported that she was raped at a party event in 2011 when she was 19 and told by a party official not reported it as that would affect her future prospects in he party.
Wednesday 1st November The i 1Nov17
Wednesday 1st November Damian Green (Con) is under investigation for tweeting his admiration to  Kate Maltby (a Tory activist) he had previously met when she was pictured in a newspaper wearing a corset. Here's the corset from They report the tweet as, "Long time no see. But having admired you in a corset in my favourite tabloid I feel impelled to ask if you are free for a drink anytime?"
Kate Maltby and the corset Kate Maltby
Daily Mail 1st November

Times 5th November
The Daily Mail published a double-page spread character assassination of Ms. Maltby and pictured a strangely pixilated corset. The corset picture does not appear on the online Mail article, link left.
Maltby Daily Mail
The Times published a response by Ms Maltby on 5th December. On second thoughts, The Times might have added the pixilation as it is not parallel with the original page. Is it possible that it was pixilitated it to imply that the original image is saucier than it actually was (i.e. not at all)?
Wednesday 1st November It became general knowledge that the dossier included an entry for an affair between Amber Rudd and Kwasi Kwarteng. They were otherwise unattached at the time. The Telegraph had already reported this relationship in October 2016.
Wednesday 1st November Stephen Crabb (Con) admitted sending sexually suggestive texts to a 19-year-old he'd interviewed for a job.
Dominic Raab was accused of impropriety and legal acyion relatin thereto, but strongly denies it and is taking legal advice. Mirror
Thursday 2nd November Kelvin Hopkins (Lab) suspended for inappropriate hugging of Labour activist Ava Etemadzadeh after a student event in 2014 and subsequent improper conversations. He denies it. He was promoted to the shadow cabinet after the the incident was reported to the party, leading to questions of standards and judgment. BBC
Friday 3rd November Charlie Elphicke (Con, Dover) suspended after "serious allegations" which have been referred to the police and which he denies. BBC

Clive Lewis (Lab, Norwich South) suspended after an allegation of groping at Labour's 2017 Brighton conference. Lewis "taken aback" by the allegation. BBC There had been a fuss at the conference when Lewis loudly instructed a fellow party-goer (male) to get "on your knees, bitch".

Carl Sargeant (Lab, Welsh Assembly) suspended and the cabinet reshuffled after undisclosed allegations. BBC
Friday 3rd November The Tory party's new code of conduct includes the definition "violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive situation or environment for them".
The text in full at,
Sunday 5th November Damian Green(Con): pornography was found on a laptop in his office during a leak investigation in 2008. Denied.

Daniel Poulter (Con, former health minister) reported under the new procedure (see 3Nov), "three female MPs … were reluctant to get in a lift with Poulter after he allegedly put his hand up their skirts". Times

Michael Fallon (Con, ex-minister): another reporter (Jane Merrick, Observer), reported a "lunge" after a 2003 lunch.

The Times reports, " Labour was braced last night for further revelations amid claims at least six more MPs and one party aide could face accusations of sexual harassment. It is understood a new list — similar to the Tories’ sex dossier — has been compiled".

It also reports that "In Scotland the SNP childcare minister Mark McDonald resigned amid allegations of inappropriate behaviour yesterday, saying that 'my behaviour might have made others uncomfortable or led them to question my intentions'. He is still an MSP".
Sunday 5th November Late in the day reports began to arrive that "Conservative MP [and whip] Chris Pincher has referred himself to the police after he was accused of making an unwanted pass at former Olympic rower and Conservative activist Alex Story while dressed in a bathrobe. " Independent
Mr. Pincher was mentioned in the Sleaze Dossier - link to unredacted version at Craig Murray's blog.
Monday 6th November Nothing new overnight. The Times reports, under a heading Six Labour MPs and one party official named on sleaze list, "It is believed that a list of claims against party figures is being compiled, similar to the spreadsheet of unverified allegations about more than 40 Conservative MPs. Labour’s list is said to name six MPs and one official". It then goes on to summarize the cases of Kelvin Hopkins and Clive Lewis.

If we take the official to be the one who advised Bex Bailey badly (see 31 Oct), the six MPs could be be O'Mara (25 Oct), Hopkins (2 Nov) , Lewis (3 Nov) and 3 to come.
Monday 6th November Guido reports a LibDem instance,

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.

Tuesday 7th November It was reported this afternoon that Carl Sargeant (Lab, Welsh Assembly), see 3rd Nov had killed himself. The Welsh Assembly has gone into recess. There is still no news on what he was accused of. The media had gleefully reported Fallon as the "first scalp" of this affair, but in truth, that is Sargeant, Fallon is merely inconvenienced. Yesterday the leadership of the Welsh Labour Party was crowing over their decisive action: today, less so.
Wednesday 8th November A quiet day on the sleaze front, the media being consumed with the imminent departure of Priti Patel.
There was some coverage of complaints about the treatment of Carl Sargeant and the approach of Carwyn Jones, Wales' First Minister.
And a few mentions of Liberal sleaze (see 6th Nov): a person was suspended 6 months after the initial report and Vince Cable has been criticised for the party's handling of the matter. Sun
Thursday 9th November Mark Garnier (see 29th Oct) is reported to have apologised in the Kidderminster Shuttle to his constituents for calling his secretary "sugar tits" and getting her to buy sex toys. He said that "the events were reported outside the context". BBC

Carwyn Jones made a statement and declared that he had no alternative but to sack Carl Sargeant following allegations about his conduct (BBC). WalesOnline reported on 10th, "Carwyn Jones is hiding behind a legal process to avoid scrutiny of his actions - but this will not go away".
Friday 10th Nov All rather quiet while the Commons takes a holiday and attention focusses on ministers in trouble for matters other than lust.
But I have just noticed that on 8th the BBC mentioned, David Prescott , a " key aide to Jeremy Corbyn, and the son of former Deputy Prime Minister John Pr escott, has been suspended from his job … No formal complaint has been made to the Labour Party, which declined to give a reason for the suspension. A Labour Party spokesperson said: 'We do not comment on staffing matters'."BBC
It has been picked up by the papers, here's the Grauniad.

If we return to the Labour Sleaze List mentioned on 6th Nov, then the official might be Prescott rather than one who advised Bex Bailey badly.
Saturday 11th Nov Kerry McCarthy (Lab, Bristol East) reinforced the case against Kelvin Hopkins (see 2nd Nov) by describing 20 years of "unwanted attention" She has published some notes and cards, including the one "received in the past three years", below. Guardian

Bob Stewart (Con, Beckenham) defended himself on Radio 4. He was described in The Dossier as "Perpetually intoxicated and very inappropriate with women". He stated that he has not been drunk since he left the army 20+ years ago and, though he had described Isabel Hardman as "totty" in April 2016, he had apologised and acknowledged it was inappropriate. Mail
Hopkins letter to McCarthy Hopkins letter
Monday 13th November Not much to report (and nothing spotted yesterday). The Times noted that,
1. "Damian Green appeared to drop his claim that there was never any porn on his seized computers yesterday [see 5th Nov] and instead reiterated that police had never told him about the discovery.
Mr Green, the first secretary of state, said a week ago that allegations that there was pornography on a computer seized from his office nine years ago were false and completely untrue.
However, since Sir Paul Stephenson, the Metropolitan Police commissioner between 2009 and 2011, revealed at the weekend that he had also been told about the claims, Mr Green has not repeated his original denial."
2. Chris Pincher (see 5th Nov) is reported to have "dined with the solicitor-general" shortly after resigning as a whip. Hardly worth reporting.
Tuesday 14th November Another quiet news day. Daisy Goodwin, writer of the ITV series, Victoria, attended a meeting at Downing Street when David Cameron was PM (2010-2016). At the end of the meeting an unnamed official made complimentary remarks and “put his hand on my breast". Ms. Goodwin spurned his advance. She did not report it at the time.
Wednesday 15th November The Independent reports that, "Ivan Lewis [Lab, Bury South], … is being investigated by the party over alleged sexual harassment following the submission of a formal complaint … The allegation, reported by Buzzfeed, claimed that Mr Lewis had repeatedly touched the woman’s leg and invited her back to his house when she was a student attending a Labour party event seven years’ ago".
Thursday 16th November The Times picked up the Ivan Lewis story the next day and reported,
'A spokeswoman for Labour said: “The Labour Party takes all allegations of sexual harassment extremely seriously and all complaints are investigated in line with our robust procedures. Ivan Lewis is under investigation following the receipt of a complaint.'

and, "The party faced a crisis in Scotland when Alex Rowley, 53, the MSP for Mid Scotland & Fife, stepped aside as acting leader and was suspended after a former girlfriend accused him of bullying".
Saturday 18th November The media have turned their attention elswhere for now (Budget, Brexit, Zimbabwe). The Sun, rather scraping the barrel, reports that the unpleasant material found on a machine Damian Green's vacinity (see ?) would have been considered in a worse light under subsequent rules. It concedes that "It is unclear who downloaded the material".
Sun 18 Nov
Sunday 19th November Not strictly sleaze, but rather boorish behaviour, the Mail on Sunday reported,
Mail 19 Nov
Thursday 23rd November 2017 Ivan Lewis(see 16th Nov) has been suspended by the Labour Party. The i reported his statement on 24th, "I am deeply saddened to hear on my suspension, pending investigation. I strongly dispute the allegations and intend to cooperate fully with the investigation".
Sunday 26th November 2017 The Times reported, under the title Labour hushes up second ‘suicide’ after sex claims, "A second member of the Labour Party has died after apparently taking his own life amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
The man, understood to be in his early thirties, died suddenly last week after being suspended from the party and his job at Labour headquarters after claims involving pornography…
The man who died last week was a member of Labour’s team at the party’s headquarters in Victoria, central London. One source said he had been caught digitally manipulating the faces of people onto the bodies of porn stars."
No names are mentioned. David Prescott is still twittering.

The story finishes with a handy reminder of recent events, "Labour has brought in the QC Karon Monaghan to investigate claims by the Labour activist Bex Bailey that a party official warned her against going public when she was raped. Other complaints are being examined by the party’s national executive committee.
Those under investigation include Ivan Lewis, the MP for Bury South, who was suspended from the party last week following accusations of sexual harassment, which he 'strongly disputes'.
John Mann, the MP for Bassetlaw, branded Labour’s efforts to investigate claims as 'amateurish' and called for the party to hand over control to an independent body…
The Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke has been suspended from the party and referred to the police. His wife told The Sunday Times this month that her husband still did not know the accusations against him. Another Tory MP, Christopher Pincher, referred himself to the police after a claim of an unwanted advance."
Sunday 26th November 2017 Times 26 Nov 17
Friday 1st December 2017 Neil Lewis, a retired detective involved in the 2008 Damian Green office search and pornogaphy find (see Nov 1st) appeared on the BBC Radio 4 Today program describing the nature (unpleasant but not ilegal), volume (a lot) and ownership of the porn (Green himself). David Davies (now Brexet Sec, then Green's boss in the shadow home office) is reported to have threatened to resign if Green is sacked.
Saturday 2nd December 2017 Most of the papers picked up the Green story on their front pages the next day. By the evening, The BBC radio news was leading with criticism by senior police sources of the retired detective. BBC
Sunday 3rd December 2017 The Green story continues to be the only sleaze issue making the news. Under the heading, Police kept secret copy of porn file on Damian Green, The Sunday Times reports, "A secret file containing details of the pornography on Damian Green’s computer was preserved by police despite a command from senior officers that the data should be deleted.
The disclosure raises the prospect of decisive evidence coming to light — and is likely to further widen divisions between police and MPs. Senior Downing Street aides are now understood to want Green to resign, rather than forcing Theresa May to decide whether to sack or clear him.
Gavin Barwell, the chief of staff, is among the aides who believe Green should do the “decent thing” and “fall on his sword”. The Cabinet Office is carrying out an inquiry into Green, who is also under investigation for alleged inappropriate advances to the academic Kate Maltby." see 1st November et seq.

It is surprising that there is nothing at all in Private Eye (Issue 1458 1-14 Dec) on Commons Sleaze.
The HP Sauce page #1456 had a general piece about the Commons complaints procedure and elsewhere a mention of the use of WhatsApp for the sex-pest list.
#1457's HP Sauce led with a piece on John Prescott and his son David.
Thursday 7th December 2017 Under the headline, "Labour abandons inquiry into alleged sex harassment by Carl Sargeant, who killed himself after he was sacked", The Times reports,
"Labour has dropped an investigation into alleged sexual harassment by a Welsh assembly member who killed himself and revealed it had not received any written evidence of his alleged misconduct at the time of his death.
Carl Sargeant, a minister in Cardiff’s devolved administration, was found dead four days after he was sacked by Carwyn Jones, the Welsh first minister, last month.
He had denied unspecified accusations of “unwanted attention, touching or groping” from three women and it is understood that he died without knowing the exact details of the allegations against him, despite repeated requests for information.
Both Mr Jones and his advisers, one of whom conducted an informal preliminary inquiry into the complaints in the days before Mr Sargeant’s sacking, have been accused of prejudicing the internal party investigation into the accusations, which had not been referred to the police.
The investigation was revealed to have ended yesterday after correspondence from Iain McNicol, Labour’s general secretary, and Mr Sargeant’s family solicitor was passed to The Times and other media outlets".
Tuesday 12th December 2017 The BBC reported, Labour clears MP Clive Lewis of sexual harassment
"The Labour Party launched its investigation into Mr Lewis after an unnamed woman told the Independent newspaper that he had groped her…
Mr Lewis, the former shadow defence secretary, had always denied the allegation…
Announcing the conclusion of the case, a Labour Party spokesman said: "After consideration of statements provided by the complainant and the respondent, the National Executive Committee's sexual harassment panel has ruled that on the balance of the evidence the matter should not be referred to a full hearing of the National Constitutional Committee."
see 3rd November, BBC, Independent
Sunday 17th December 2017 A roundup

Nothing again in Private Eye #1459 15th Dec.

The Times today reported, "Damian Green may face second sex inquiry, Damian Green faces the prospect of a second inquiry into claims of sexual misconduct at Westminster. Alleged victims of Theresa May’s closest ally have been urged to contact Kathryn Hudson, the parliamentary commissioner for standards, who is expected to be announced this week as the new arbiter of sexual allegations against MPs. The Sunday Times understands that Hudson’s role will be expanded following weeks of cross-party talks led by Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the Commons, in an attempt to deal with the misconduct scandal that has swept Westminster. This weekend there were calls for Green to be referred to Hudson almost seven weeks after Sue Gray launched a Cabinet Office inquiry into his conduct." A very thin story, this.

Guido had reported on Dec 13, "Labour has delayed making a decision about Kelvin Hopkins until next January at the earliest, putting its Pestminster investigation into him onto the back-burner. The former Shadow Culture Secretary lost the Labour whip in November after allegations that he sent inappropriate text messages and made inappropriate physical contact at a student event. Worth remembering that complainant Ava Etemadzadeh’s original allegation about Hopkins was made to the Labour whips’ office back in 2015. Those involved in the case were told to wait by their phones today for the outcome – only to be told it will be delayed…"

And on 14th that a Welsh lobbying firm, Deryn, was implicated in the Carl Sargeant story.

Times, Guido.
Wednesday 20th December 2017 Damian Green is asked to resign. Laura Kuenssberg reports, "After the prime minister received the initial report on Monday from the Cabinet Office official Sue Grey, who found flaws in his account, Mrs May asked for further advice, calling in her independent adviser, Sir Alex Allan. He then, in turn, concluded that there had been breaches of the rules. With that, Mrs May had little choice but to ask him to go." Front pages tomorrow if they look good.
The resignation letter.
Thursday 21st December 2017 Mirror 20 Dec 17 All the front pages here.
Saturday 23rd December 2017 The Times reported under the heading, MPs Stephen Crabb and Chris Pincher cleared after sex pest claims,
"Two Conservative MPs under investigation for sexual harassment were cleared by the party last night.
Stephen Crabb, a former cabinet minister, and Chris Pincher, a whip, had been referred to the party’s new disciplinary board over allegations that surfaced at the height of Westminster’s sex scandal in October and November.
Mr Crabb, a married devout Christian who ran for the party leadership last year, had admitted sending sexually explicit messages to a woman aged 19 who applied for a job in his office but the party concluded that his behaviour “did not constitute harassment”…
Mr Pincher, the MP for Tamworth, stepped aside from the whips’ office and referred himself for investigation last month after Alex Story, a Tory activist who competed as a rower in the 1996 Olympic Games, alleged that Mr Pincher, 48, had acted “like a Pound Shop Harvey Weinstein” and made an unwanted pass at him during a drinking session in 2001, before he was an MP.
Mr Pincher, who is not married, said he did not recognise the account when the allegations emerged in the press last month but referred himself to the complaints panel and police.
A Conservative spokesman said: “A panel headed by an independent QC considered the evidence and has concluded there has not been a breach of the code of conduct.” "

The article helpfully concludes,
"Two other Conservative MPs, Dan Poulter and Daniel Kawczynski, are still being investigated. Another, Charlie Elphicke, had the whip suspended and was reported to police over “serious allegations” last month. The Labour MPs Kelvin Hopkins and Ivan Lewis remain suspended from their party pending the outcome of inquiries."
Sunday 7th January 2018 All quiet for a couple of weeks, but the Sunday Times has reported under a headline Sex-pest MPs to face deselection if they break ‘tough’ new code,
MPs accused of sexual harassment could be suspended or kicked out of parliament under plans being considered by a cross-party group of MPs.
The group, set up by the prime minister to tackle sexual harassment in Westminster, is expected to recommend formal sanctions against sex-pest MPs imposed by an independent regulator.
The ultimate sanction would see MPs face a by-election in their constituency if they refuse to resign from the Commons over their behaviour.
The disclosure comes days after a leaked draft report suggested that MPs accused of sexual harassment would need only to apologise or complete an online training course as punishment.
Andrea Leadsom, leader of the House of Commons and chair of the cross-party group, said tough sanctions will be introduced to try to change Westminster’s working culture.
It ends by noting, while naming no names,
Several Tory and Labour MPs are still under investigation.
Tuesday 13th March 2018 Very quiet on all fronts for a long time, as bullying became the new topic of note. Today, however, the Times reported, Labour MP Karl Turner ‘made sexual remarks to cancer victim’ and summed up the overall Labour picture while reporting this story,
Six Labour MPs are facing allegations of bullying or sexual harassment after one of the party’s frontbenchers was accused yesterday of slapping a cancer survivor and making crude comments to her.
Karl Turner, MP for Kingston upon Hull East, was accused of slapping a woman on her bottom in his constituency office in 2015. He was also alleged to have told the woman, who had had a double mastectomy, that she “shouldn’t have got rid of her real tits because they were great”.
Two witnesses allegedly heard him tell her: “The ones you’ve got now are nice enough.” After being challenged, he was heard to say: “I couldn’t help myself,” the Financial Times said.
The claim comes after Debbie Abrahams was suspended on Sunday as shadow pensions secretary. She was accused of bullying staff. The MP for Oldham East & Saddleworth disputed the allegations and said she had been the victim of “aggressive, intimidating and wholly unprofessional” behaviour by “certain individuals in the leader’s office” over ten months. She said she would complain to Labour and the parliamentary authorities. The party was not thought last night to have received a complaint.
Last week Paul Farrelly, the Labour MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme, was accused of bullying a parliamentary clerk. He said that the allegations had been investigated but not upheld. “Despite this, I apologised if I had inadvertently upset the clerk, who had suffered stress,” Mr Farrelly, 56, said. The Tory MPs Mark Pritchard and John Bercow, the Speaker, were also accused of bullying clerks, which they denied.
Three other Labour MPs have been suspended from the party. Ivan Lewis, 51, and Kelvin Hopkins, 76, were accused separately of sexual misconduct. Jared O’Mara, 36, was suspended after an allegation that he called a constituent an “ugly bitch”. All deny the claims.


12 Dec 17 Clive Lewis
An allegation of groping at Labour's 2017 Brighton conference was published in the Independent on 3rd Nov and he was suspended while an investigation took place. On 12th Dec the investigation concluded that there was insufficient evidence and he was reinstated.
20 Dec 17 Damian Green
The story first surfaced on 1st November with Kate Maltby accusing him of an inappropriate reaction to a photograph of her in a corset used to illustrate an article on the history of clothing. On 5th November news emerged of rude photographs on a work laptop found in a contraversion police raid in the Commons in 2008. On 1st December a police officer involved in the raid went public on the detail.He was asked to resign on 20th December and did so.
22 Dec 17 Stephen Crabb and Chris Pincher
Both cleared following investigations by the Toty party, see 23 Dec for a summary.

These are noted against individual entries.