Cabinet minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan says she was pinned against wall by male MPon April 29, 2022 at 10:18 am

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Anne-Marie Trevelyan’s disclosure comes amid renewed scrutiny over sexism in Westminster.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan

Image source, Getty Images

A female cabinet minister has revealed she was once “pinned up against a wall” by a male MP, amid renewed scrutiny about harassment in Parliament.

International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said she had been subjected to misogyny and “wandering hands” on numerous occasions.

Her comments come after a Tory MP was accused earlier this week of watching porn on his phone in the Commons.

It has reignited debates about the working environment for female MPs.

Tory party managers have referred the porn allegations to Parliament’s conduct watchdog, which could launch an independent probe into the claims.

Speaking on LBC radio, Ms Trevelyan said she had “witnessed and been at the sharp end of misogyny from some colleagues many times over”.

Asked what form this had taken, she replied: “We might describe it as wandering hands, if you like.

“We might describe it as, you know, a number of years ago being pinned up against a wall by a male MP – who is now no longer in the House [of Commons] I’m pleased to say – declaring that I must want him because he was a powerful man.

“These sorts of things, these power abuses that a very small minority, thank goodness, of male colleagues show is completely unacceptable.”

‘God’s gift to women’

She added that she had been subjected to “wandering hands” on “probably half a dozen” occasions.

“A couple were repeat offenders – they’ve got the message now,” she added.

Speaking on Sky News, she told male colleagues to “keep your hands in your pockets and behave as you would if you had your daughter in the room”.

She said the vast majority of her male colleagues are “delightful”, but “there are a few for whom too much drink, or indeed a sort of, a view that somehow being elected makes them, you know, God’s gift to women”.

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What are the specific rules against MPs watching pornography in the House of Commons?

  • Under a Code of Conduct approved by the Commons, MPs have a duty to behave at all times in their public life “with probity and integrity”
  • Members are expected to observe the principles of “respect, professionalism, understanding others’ perspectives, courtesy, and acceptance of responsibility”
  • The Code says they should not do anything which would “cause significant damage to the reputation and integrity” of the House or MPs in general
  • Allegations of sexual misconduct can be referred to Parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme
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The allegation that a Tory MP watched pornography in the Commons was made at a meeting on Tuesday night.

Chris Heaton-Harris – the government’s chief whip – looked into the matter but has now referred it to Parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS).

This could lead to a probe by an external investigator – but under the ICGS process, this can only happen if a witness lodges a formal complaint.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called for the Tory party to “take action now” against the unnamed MP.

And senior Tory MP Caroline Nokes has said she is “disappointed” her party has not suspended the MP from the Conservative group in Parliament.

She told Politics Home the decision to refer the allegations to the ICGS amounted to “kicking it into long grass”.

The ICGS scheme was set up in 2018 following complaints about how claims of sexual harassment by MPs were dealt with.

On Wednesday, Green MP Caroline Lucas raised reports that 56 MPs, including three cabinet ministers, were facing allegations of sexual misconduct after being reported to the ICGS.

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