Monday, November 20

May pledges to create ‘new culture of respect’

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Theresa May will pledge to “create a new culture of respect” in public life following another turbulent weekend of allegations in the Westminster sex scandal.

The Prime Minister will meet with Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn and Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable in an effort to agree on Parliament-wide anti-harassment measures as she battles to get a grip on a furore that continues to dominate politics.

In a speech to the CBI, Mrs May will promise to create a climate in which “everyone can feel confident that they are working in a safe and secure environment, where complaints can be brought forward without prejudice and victims know that those complaints will be investigated properly”.

“And where people’s careers cannot be damaged by unfounded rumours circulated anonymously online,” she will say.

First Secretary of State Damian Green will also be in the spotlight on Monday – as he is interviewed as part of a Cabinet Office investigation which has been expanded to examine claims pornography was discovered on one of his parliamentary computers in 2008.

The PM’s top ally has strongly denied the claims.

The investigation into Mr Green was sparked when journalist Kate Maltby claimed he “fleetingly” touched her knee during a meeting at a pub in 2015 and then sent her a “suggestive” text a year later after she was featured in a newspaper wearing a corset.

Mr Green has labelled allegations he made sexual advances to Ms Maltby “untrue [and]deeply hurtful”.

The inquiry into him was was widened after The Sunday Times reported that former Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Bob Quick alleged that “extreme porn” was found by officers investigating government leaks in 2008.

Mr Green said the story was “completely untrue and comes from a tainted and untrustworthy source”. Mr Quick said he did not tell the newspaper about the allegations.

 

Four Conservative MPs were referred to the party’s newly established disciplinary committee over allegations made against them at the weekend.

One of them – Chris Pincher – has referred himself to the police and stood down from the Whips’ Office.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has suggested the scandal could lead to greater powers for MPs to be sacked.

She said Westminster was in the midst of a “watershed moment” and the end result will be positive after a “clear out”.

The scandal has already seen Sir Michael Fallon resign as defence secretary, with the Sevenoaks MP saying his personal conduct had “fallen below the high standards we require of the armed forces”.

Journalist Jane Merrick has accused Sir Michael of lunging at her and trying to kiss her on the lips when she was a junior reporter in 2003.

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