Theresa May won’t say when she knew about sexual harassment allegations

Theresa May
Theresa May
Carl Court /

  • Downing Street refuses to say when the prime minister
    first heard of sexual harassment allegations against
    Conservative MPs.
  • May’s spokesman repeatedly refuses to say confirm
    whether or not government whips have reported allegations
    against Tory MPs to her.
  • Almost 40 Conservative MPs were included in a dossier
    of allegations being circulated at Westminster.
  • May’s spokesman refuses to say whether she has
    confidence in her minister Mark Garnier, who faces allegations
    of sexually inappropriate behaviour.


LONDON —  A spokesperson for Theresa May today repeatedly
refused to say when the prime minister first heard about dozens
of allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate sexual
behaviour made against Tory MPs and serving cabinet ministers.

May’s spokesman told Business Insider that May acted once the
allegations were “made public” but was unable to say when
the prime minister was first informed about them.

Westminster is engulfed in a growing
sexual harassment scandal
after a dossier of allegations
against almost 40 Tory MPs was circulated by parliamentary staff,
with Labour MPs also expected to be drawn into the scandal.

The prime minister has already launched a Cabinet Office
investigation into one serving minister, Mark Garnier, who has
admitted making sexual remarks to a member of staff as well
as instructing her to buy sex toys for him.

Garnier denies that the behaviour constitutes harassment.
However, other former and current ministers are also reportedly
included in the dossier, with the Times reporting that government
whips regularly inform the prime minister of allegations of
sexual misconduct.

A spokesman for the prime minister today denied that there were
any such regular meetings. However, he also repeatedly refused to
say when the prime minister was first made aware of the
allegations against her MPs, saying only that the PM had acted
once the allegations were “made public.”

“I don’t have a timetable for that,” he told Business Insider.

“What I can point to very quickly is that once the allegations
were made public the prime minister asked for that review to take
place and as you also saw she sent a letter as leader of the
Conservative party to the Speaker looking more broadly at the
issues and the next steps that will be taken.”

Asked by BI again whether May had ever been informed of any
sexual allegations against her MPs whilst prime minister, the
spokesman replied:

“I can’t get into every conversation that the prime minister has
ever had.”

“But the fact is you are referring to speculation over the
weekend about a dossier. There is no dossier and therefore the
prime minister hasn’t seen one.”

Government whips in the past have reportedly been in possession
of a so-called “black book” detailing allegations against MPs.

This information has reportedly been used by the whips to secure
that MPs remain loyal to the prime minister of the day. It
has historically been the job of the whip to pass this
information on to the PM.

May’s spokesman refused to say whether this practice continued,
and whether whips had informed her of allegations made against
her MPs.

“I’m not getting into every conversation the prime minister has
with her whips,” he said, adding that: “It’s the job of the whip
to update the prime minister on parliamentary matters.”

The spokesman also repeatedly refused to say whether the prime
minister has confidence in Garnier, saying only that they would
not pre-empt the outcome of the investigation into him.

They added that they were “not aware” of any other active
investigations into serving MPs or ministers.

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