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Mark Garnier: Number 10 refuses to say Theresa May has confidence in sex toy minister

Downing Street has refused to say if the Prime Minister has confidence in Mark Garnier[1], as the under-fire minister’s position looks increasingly precarious. The Prime Minister’s spokesman said she was waiting for the outcome of a Cabinet Office probe into whether he broke the ministerial code before taking any decisions in his case. The junior minister has admitted asking his secretary to buy him sex toys, but it also comes amid broader claims that parliamentary staff have compiled a list of up to 40 Tory MPs accused of inappropriate sexual behaviour.

At a briefing on Monday, Theresa May[2]‘s spokesman was asked if she still had “full confidence” in her minister. He said: “There is an investigation which the Prime Minister has asked for. I can’t pre-empt that.

“As soon as the Prime Minister was aware of these allegations, she asked for the review to take place. Let’s wait for the review to do its work.” Mr Garnier asked his secretary Caroline Edmondson to buy two sex toys in a shop in Soho while he waited outside.

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The Conservative MP for Wyre Valley is also accused of calling Ms Edmondson, who no longer works for him, “sugar t**s” in front of several witnesses.

Mr Garnier told the Mail on Sunday: “I’m not going to deny it, because I’m not going to be dishonest. I’m going to have to take it on the chin. I hung around outside and she went into this shop.

That was it.” He said the “sugar t**s” comment was a humorous reference to popular BBC comedy Gavin and Stacey. He added: “It absolutely does not constitute harassment.”

The Prime Minister’s spokesman refused to be drawn on whether she was confident that no other ministers are on the list drawn up by aides, and seen by some media outlets. The spokesman went on: “The Prime Minister has been clear that this type of behaviour would be inappropriate if proven and that appropriate action should be taken.” He also confirmed that no other investigations were currently taking place into allegations about any other individuals.

On Monday afternoon in the Commons, Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom will update MPs on the scandal, which threatens to engulf Westminster this week.

Last week Ms May wrote to letter to Speaker John Bercow calling for tougher measures to protect parliamentary staff from abuse.

References

  1. ^ Mark Garnier (www.independent.co.uk)
  2. ^ Theresa May (www.independent.co.uk)

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