Fresh allegations of sexual harassment at Westminster have emerged, with one of David Cameron’s officials accused of groping well-known writer Daisy Goodwin. She says she immediately called out the official, saying: “Are you actually touching my breast?”
Goodwin, who wrote the hit TV show ‘Victoria’, alleged that the incident occurred after the man “summoned” her to Number 10 to discuss an idea for a television program. Describing what the man did during the meeting “a few years ago,” she told the Radio Times: “To my surprise he put his feet on my chair (we were sitting side by side) and said that my sunglasses made me look like a Bond girl.
“I attempted to turn the conversation to turning exports into unmissable TV. At the end of the meeting we both stood up and the official, to my astonishment, put his hand on my breast.” Goodwin said she attempted to rebuke the perpetrator by adopting the voice of the famous theatrical character Lady Bracknell from Oscar Wilde’s ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’. “I look at the hand and then in my best Lady Bracknell voice said, ‘Are you actually touching my breast?’” She said the official then “dropped his hand and laughed nervously.”
The 55-year-old writer described the accused as “a few years younger” than her. “I had met the official at a dinner, and he had followed up with an email. As I waited to see him I drank in the aroma of Downing Street, which took me straight back to the boys’ public school I had attended – a sweaty combination of testosterone, socks and lust.
“I wasn’t traumatized, I was cross. But by the next day it had become an anecdote: ‘The Day I was Groped by Number 10’ – an account of male delusion. It did not occur to me to report the incident. I was fine, after all. And who on earth would I report it to?” she said.
In the light of the sexual harassment scandal that has taken hold of Westminster, Goodwin decided to speak out about her experience. She feared the man may have tried something similar with someone who may not be in a position to speak out, she said.
Number 10 said it takes allegations of inappropriate behavior “very seriously” and would task the Cabinet Office to launch an investigation if a formal complaint is made.
It has been two weeks since Sir Michael Fallon was forced to step down as defence secretary, admitting his behavior had “fallen short” of expected standards. He admitted touching a female journalist’s knee and faced a claim that he had made a “lunge” and tried to kiss another.
Fellow Tory MP Damian Green faces a Cabinet Office investigation after being accused by a journalist of making inappropriate advances. He denies the allegation.
Labour activist Bex Bailey has alleged she was raped at a party event by an official more senior than her. Conservative and Liberal Democrat members have also made allegations of rape.
Tory MP Charlie Elphicke has been suspended from his party pending an investigation into “serious allegations.” He denies any wrongdoing. Minister Mark Garnier is also being investigated after admitting asking a secretary to buy him two sex toys.
Labour MP Clive Lewis denies groping a female party member at this year’s Labour Party conference. Fellow Labour member Kelvin Hopkins also denies inappropriately rubbing himself on a female party activist to whom he had sent text messages.
Scottish Childcare Minister Mark MacDonald has resigned after admitting “inappropriate behavior.” And an inquest has heard that the death of sacked Labour Minister Carl Sargeant was an “apparent act of self-harm,” after allegations of misconduct were made against him, which he denied.