Fresh allegations swirl of sex at Westminster
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Mark Menzies, 45, quit as a minister’s aide in 2014 shortly after being asked about his relationship with rent boy Rogerio dos Santos Pinto, 19, and is named on the so-called sex ‘pest list’ over the incident
More Tory ministers and MPs have been named as being on Westminster’s ‘spreadsheet of shame’ including a former rising star accused of asking a Brazilian rent boy to supply him with drugs.
Mark Menzies, 45, quit as a minister’s aide in 2014 shortly after being asked about his relationship with Rogerio dos Santos Pinto, 19, who claimed the politician had given him a tour of Parliament before allegedly offering to pay him £250 for a two-hour session.
Mr Menzies resigned in the aftermath but said at the time that a number of the allegations made by a Sunday newspaper were untrue.
He is among nine people on the hit list of 40 names that have been named so far.
But at least 13 are MPs have been cited for having consensual relationships without any hint of harassment.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd was put on there only because she had a relationship with Eton-educated Tory MP Kwasi Kwarteng after her divorce from AA Gill.
Rossendale MP Jake Berry is also named for having a son with his partner Alice Robinson, who was a Tory aide.
MP Justin Tomlinson, 40, who settled down with then 25-year-old aide Katherine Bennett in 2016 when he was already divorced is also named.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd (left today) was put on there only because she had a relationship with Eton-educated Tory MP Kwasi Kwarteng (right) after her divorce from AA Gill
Essex MP Robert Halfon is also on the list because the former minister without portfolio had a six-month relationship with a Tory worker behind his long-term partner’s back in 2015 – Jake Berry is named on the list over his relationship with a Tory aide, who is now his long term partner and mother of his son
MP Justin Tomlinson, 40, is on the list after he settled down with then 25-year-old aide Katherine Bennett in 2016 when he was already divorced. Theresa May’s key ally Damian Green is at the top of Westminster’s ‘spreadsheet of shame’ and repeats claims his email address was on a hacked list the Ashley Madison dating website members, which he has repeatedly denied
Essex MP Robert Halfon is also on the list because the former minister without portfolio had a six-month relationship behind his long-term partner’s back in 2015.
The affair was with PR executive Alexandra Paterson, 30, who is chairman of the Conservative party’s youth wing, was entirely consensual.
THE ‘SEX PEST’ DOSSIER IN NUMBERS
The controversial dossier runs to 40 names in total, and encompasses all levels of the Tory party.
It features six Cabinet-level ministers.
There are 12 lower-ranking ministers.
Some 10 former ministers, including a handful who served in the highest ranks of government, are also on the roll call.
But while a number of the MPs are alleged to have acted inappropriately, around 15 of the claims relate to consensual relationships or personal sexual preferences – without any apparent misconduct.
St Austell MP Steve Double is on there for having an affair with his office liaison with Sarah Bunt, 26, but was taken back by his forgiving wife Anne in 2016.
Also named is former Cabinet minister Stephen Crabb, who has admitted sending explicit text messages to a 19-year-old he had interviewed for a job.
And Mark Garnier also makes the list for allegedly asking his assistant to buy two vibrators and called her ‘sugar t*ts’.
Another unnamed MP on the dossier, told MailOnline: ‘It is hurtful to be included and attached to something that is completely untrue.’
Theresa May’s key ally Damian Green is on Westminster’s ‘spreadsheet of shame’ which alleges he used the Ashley Madison dating website, MailOnline can reveal.
The Cabinet Office minister has vehemently denied he was a member of the dating site for married people who wanted to cheat on their spouses.
The allegation first emerged in 2015 when his work email address appeared on a hacked list of members.
He said at the time: ‘It’s nothing to do with me. I have never registered for an account with Ashley Madison’.
The Westminster ‘spreadsheet of shame’ reveals several damaging but unverified allegations about some of Britain’s highest profile politicians.
There is a Tory MP with the nickname ‘Copperfeel’ and several others also said to have a reputation for groping women and men.
One is alleged to have forced an aide to have an abortion and another had ‘paid women to be quiet’.
A politician is said to have been filmed being urinated on by three men, another MP enjoys sex with prostitutes paid to carry out ‘odd acts’ and a third seeks out men wearing women’s perfume, the list says.
Three female aides were asked to go on holiday with one MP while another politician ‘paid a woman to be quiet’, while a former Tory minister was said to have propositioned his secretary by asking her to ‘come and feel the length of my c***’.
Prime Minister Theresa May said today she ‘has confidence in her Government and her ministers’, her official spokesman said amid allegations of sexual impropriety at Westminster.
A dossier (pictured redacted by MailOnline) naming 40 Tory MPs is circulating within Westminster
International Trade Minister Mark Garnier (pictured at a trans pride event) is accused of calling his secretary ‘sugar t*ts’ in front of witnesses
Former Cabinet Minister Stephen Crabb admitted sending ‘explicit’ messages to a 19-year-old woman after a job interview at Westminster
St Austell MP Steve Double is also on there for having an affair with his office liaison with Sarah Bunt, 26, but was taken back by his forgiving wife Anne in 2016 (all pictured together)
The document, said to be compiled by Tory aides disgruntled about their treatment, names six Cabinet ministers and other senior allies of the Prime Minister.
What was the ‘Ashley Madison’ website for ‘cheaters’?
Ashley Madison collapsed in the aftermath of its 2015 hacking which saw the details of millions of users released.
Those who signed up were predominantly married and the majority were men.
Me paid in ‘credits’ gets you 30 minutes of live chat with women members, who didn’t have to pay for the service.
They could then send private messages, ‘winks’ to notify another user that you have viewed their profile or virtual gifts, normally sexual images, and chat via instant messenger when both members are online.
Many would then meet for sex.
The site promises its members worldwide complete ‘anonymity’ and has the motto: ‘Life is short. Have an affair’ but hackers said they have exposed its members because they wanted it shut down, which succeeded.
Some of the people exposed claimed they were blackmailed to keep their membership secret from loved-ones.
Today, separately, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon apologised for repeatedly touching a radio host’s knee until she threatened to ‘punch him in the face’.
He made the gesture to Julia Hartley-Brewer during a Conservative party conference in 2002, the journalist has revealed.
A close friend of Sir Michael, a married father of two, said: ‘Julia’s a good friend of Michael’s. He overstepped the mark. She made it clear it was unwelcome and he rightly apologised 15 years ago.’
Yesterday Miss Hartley-Brewer, 49, said she was contacted by journalists about the incident in the wake of wider claims of sexual misconduct, but said she regarded it as ‘mildly amusing’.
Comparing her experience of a ‘misjudged sexual overture’ to serious harassment or assault was ‘absurd and wrong’, she argued.
In a statement on Twitter she wrote: ‘Wild rumours and claims are circulating about many male MPs at Westminster in a media feeding frenzy.
‘I have worked in and around Westminster for 20 years and, as far as I am aware, incidents of genuine harassment involve only a small number of MPs from all parties.
‘I believe it is absurd and wrong to treat workplace banter and flirting – and even misjudged sexual overtures – between consenting adults as being morally equivalent to serious sexual harassment or assault. It demeans genuine victims of real offences. Anyone with any allegations … should speak up now and provide the evidence to ensure any necessary action is taken.
She added: ‘I have not been a victim and I do not wish to take part in what I believe has now become a Westminster witch hunt.’
Michael Fallon, pictured today leaving cabinet, has apologised for repeatedly touching journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer’s knee
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon (right) has been revealed as the MP who made the gesture to journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer (left) during a Tory party conference in 2002
Hartley-Brewer responded last night by saying ‘no one was remotely upset or distressed’ by the incident in 2002
Miss Hartley-Brewer said the minister ‘repeatedly put his hand on my knee during a party conference dinner … I calmly and politely explained to him that, if he did it again, I would “punch him in the face”. He withdrew his hand … I have had no issues since with the man and do not regard the incident as anything but mildly amusing, which is why I have declined to name him.’
‘Maybe everybody was sloshed!’ Tory MP warns of a ‘growing witch hunt mentality’
Tory MP Michael Fabricant, pictured on Newsnight last night, warned the Westminster sex pest scandal risks turning into a witch hunt
There is a ‘growing witch hunt mentality’ surrounding the Westminster sex pest scandal which risks dragging innocent names through the mud, a Tory MP last night warned.
Michael Fabricant said inappropriate behaviour must be stamped out but it is not fair to point the finger based on rumour or things done when ‘everyone was sloshed’.
His comments come as a list of the alleged sexual improprieties of up to 40 MPs – including current Cabinet ministers – has been circulated among Westminster insiders.
The dossier lists Tories who are said to be ‘handsy with women’, used prostitutes or made inappropriate sexual advances.
But as rumours of misconduct swirl around Westminster, there are growing fears politicians could fall victim to unsubstantiated and anonymous allegations.
Mr Fabricant, a former whip and MP for Litchfeild, told BBC’s Newsnight: ‘It’s not fair actually to base things on rumour – there has to be evidence.
‘And there mustn’t be witch hunts either, I feel there is a growing witch hunt mentality currently going on.
‘We have got to ensure that inappropriate behaviour is stamped out, it is wrong it is unprofessional.
‘But at the same time we don’t want to see individuals who have been blameless being accused of things which maybe they hadn’t really done, or maybe at the time everyone was sloshed. I don’t know.
‘You sometimes get that and we have got or be very careful we don’t get into that sort of situation.’
In the Sunday Express in 2009 she described how he had propositioned her. She wrote: ‘He was, he told me, a firm believer in the long-standing Westminster rule of … “party conferences don’t count”. I was, I told him, a firm believer in not going to bed with other women’s husbands.’
Last night, after Sir Michael had been named, Miss Hartley-Brewer tweeted: ‘Sigh. This “incident” happened in 2002. No one was remotely upset or distressed by it.’
It came as Theresa May was warned she risked sparking a Westminster ‘witch hunt’ after ministers were told they could be sacked for making staff ‘feel uncomfortable’. The Prime Minister ordered a crackdown on Parliamentary sex pests after the latest Westminster sleaze scandal threatened to spiral out of control.
A spokesman for the Defence Secretary said he had apologised when the incident happened 15 years ago – and that both he and Miss Hartley-Brewer considered the matter closed.
The incident is believed to have happened at a Tory Party conference. Miss Hartley-Brewer said last night she did not see herself as a ‘victim’.
Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom said yesterday Tory MPs faced being suspended from the party if unwanted sexual comments or advances were found to have made junior staff ‘feel uncomfortable’.
Mrs Leadsom, speaking with Mrs May at her side, said ministers caught up in the scandal could be ‘fired from ministerial office’ – and the threshold for action would be behaviour ‘significantly below criminal activity’. New proposals, including an independent ‘grievance procedure’ and training for MPs on how to treat their staff, would be brought forward ‘within days’.
But the proposals sparked unease. One female Tory MP called for ‘perspective’, while a female Tory peer warned of creating an atmosphere that might ‘encourage’ false allegations.
As the scandal threatened to engulf Westminster:
- The Daily Telegraph reported that two female members of a minister’s staff moved to other jobs because of his ‘inappropriate’ behaviour. A spokesman for the minister, who has not been named, said he did not ‘recognise’ the allegations.
- Downing Street refused to say if Mrs May retained confidence in trade minister Mark Garnier, after claims he asked a female aide to buy sex toys;
- One Tory MP warned colleagues on a WhatsApp messaging group that the scandal could ‘bring down the Government’;
- Labour faced questions about its own conduct after frontbencher Cat Smith said she had to ‘run away’ from a sexual predator in the party;
- A Commons researcher revealed an MP had asked him to clean his kitchen in his underwear following a boozy night in a Commons bar;
Mrs May was urged to investigate a secret dossier naming 40 Tory MPs as sex pests.
Yesterday’s crackdown followed a string of allegations that senior MPs, including members of the Cabinet, have sexually harassed junior colleagues over many years.
Tory MP Nadine Dorries said it was right to draw up a proper legal basis for dealing with complaints.
But she added: ‘We need to keep a perspective on this. Mediocre men behaving badly hold good women back in many workplaces across the UK, not just in Westminster. We need action in terms of separating the historic and legal behaviour between consenting adults, from that which has serious grounds for complaint. My guess is, that may boil down to very little.
‘Otherwise, it turns into a witch hunt which benefits no one.’
And Baroness Jenkin warned against creating an atmosphere that encouraged false allegations.
Senior parliamentary figures have met to discuss ways for victims of sexual assault to speak up ‘without fear’. The move came after Mrs May called for a new independent helpline to deal with complaints.
Commons Speaker John Bercow also called for change in Parliament amid what he described as ‘disturbing’ allegations.
Mrs May has been stung by claims she ignored evidence of sexual harassment because the information was useful to Tory whips.
ALLEGATIONS MADE AGAINST 40 TORIES IN DOSSIER
The dossier apparently prepared by Tory aides contains sexual misconduct allegations against 40 male and female politicians, who have not been named.
A veteran Tory backbencher is accused of being ‘perpetually intoxicated and very inappropriate with women’.
A Conservative MP is accused of agreeing a ‘non-disclosure’ settlement with another politician’s researcher
A prominent female MP is accused of having extramarital sex with young male researchers.
Two MPs are accused of getting their mistresses pregnant. One allegedly paid for an abortion.
Two Tory MPs are accused of using prostitutes.
A video is rumoured to be circulating of one Conservative backbencher engaged in an ‘extreme sex act’ with three men.