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May “under pressure” to instigate “comprehensive” sexual harassment inquiry after “extraordinary” discussion in Commons

“Theresa May is under pressure from her own MPs to launch a “comprehensive” investigation into sexual harassment after it emerged that two female members of a minister’s staff moved to other jobs because of his “inappropriate” behaviour. The minister, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is alleged to have made an advance towards one of the women and made improper comments towards the other. It comes after an extraordinary day in Parliament in which a series of female MPs described their own experiences of sexual harassment and one disclosed that a member of an MP’s staff had reported a sexual assault with no action being taken.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Dossier with “allegations of inappropriate behaviour” by Tory MPs “swells to 45 names” – The Times
  • Apparently 6 cabinet ministers are named – The Sun
  • May “will sack” those “proven to be sex pests” – Daily Telegraph
  • Leadsom promises government will “take action” – Guardian
  • May was “warned six months ago” to protect staff – Daily Telegraph
  • Apparently MPs blocked Cameron’s voluntary code of conduct – Independent
  • MPs “pledge to make it easier for staff to complain” – FT
  • Bercow tells parties to face responsibilities – The Times 
  • Plaid MP says staff member had “no response” to reported allegation – Daily Telegraph
  • Apparently she had reported it four times – Independent
  • Claims surface about SNP politicians – Herald
  • Labour MP says she was “sexually harassed” by an MEP in the 90s – The Sun 
  • Here’s a redacted list from the “Westminster dossier” – The Times

Editorials:

  • MPs from all parties spoke from the heart – Guardian
  • We mustn’t lose sight of the individual in all this – Daily Telegraph
  • Harassment is a crime – The Times
  • Parliament must be “purged of pests” – The Sun

Comment:

  • We need a dedicated support team – Andrea Leadsom, The Times 
  • As a former whip, all this doesn’t surprise me – Rob Wilson, Daily Telegraph
  • The “real scandal” is the cover-up – Matthew Norman, Independent
  • Why does it take this for women to outnumber men in the Commons? – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • This is about more than “sleaze” – Tom Harris, Daily Telegraph
  • Abusers sometimes believe their own stories – Mike Brearley, The Times
  • Times like this, Leadsom is “useful” – John Crace, Guardian
  • May won’t be able just to say “sexit means sexit” – Patrick Kidd, The Times
  • We’re in the age of new Puritanism – Peter Hill, Daily Express

>Today: ToryDiary: Fifteen snapshots of the Westminster abuse and harassment story

>Yesterday: Bernard Jenkin: The MPs’ Code of Conduct. We need clearer principles, and more discussion about values. Not just more rules.

Fallon “admits touching Hartley-Brewer’s knee” at a party conference dinner

“Michael Fallon has admitted feeling a female journalist’s knee as allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct swirl around Westminster. Julia Hartley-Brewer, now a host on talkRADIO, previously chose not to name the Defence Secretary in her account of the incident in 2002. “No one was remotely upset or distressed by it,” she wrote on social media, adding that she did not feel herself to be a victim of sexual harassment.”” – Independent

  • It was over 15 years ago – Guardian
  • Hartley-Brewer says she didn’t find it “anything other but mildly amusing” – Daily Telegraph
  • Though apparently she stopped him by “threatening to punch him in the face” – Daily Mail

Brexit 1) UK “presses for continuous” negotiations to break deadlock

“Britain is pressing for “continuous” Brexit negotiations in a bid to unpick the continuing deadlock between the two sides over the so-called Brexit bill, the Telegraph can disclose. The British gambit comes as senior UK and EU officials sought to agree a new timetable for talks on Monday – with no new dates in the diary more than 10 days after the European leaders’ summit in Brussels. The move comes as Germany continues to hold a hardline on Brexit talks, delaying talks on developing a new EU negotiating mandate for the next phase of the talks on trade and the future relationship.” – Daily Telegraph

>Today: Henry Newman in comment: For the talks to progress, May should show Brussels the colour of our money

Brexit 2) Ministers “have accepted” need for key parts of withdrawal agreement to be “enshrined in law”

“A Brexit agreement with the EU would need to be enshrined in law and be subject to scrutiny and a vote by MPs and peers, ministers have conceded. Until now Theresa May and David Davis, the Brexit secretary, have insisted that parliament will only be given a “take it or leave it” vote on the overall deal, without the need for primary legislation. But behind the scenes ministers have accepted that their stance is untenable and the government will have to implement key elements of the withdrawal agreement directly into British law.” – The Times

>Today: James Arnell in Comment: Ready on Day One for Brexit. 2) Tariffs and trade. We must be willing to be radical.

More Brexit

  • Clegg, Clarke, and Adonis accused of “trying to undermine” Brexit – Daily Telegraph
  • They met with Barnier yesterday – The Times
  • Callanan “wanted to scrap EU workers’ safeguards” – Independent
  • DExEU won’t release details about 58 “secret studies” – Guardian
  • Grayling says government wants to continue “open skies” deal – Independent

Hammond say he “won’t break his fiscal rules” in budget

“Philip Hammond, the chancellor, has warned his cabinet colleagues he will not break his fiscal rules to increase public spending in next month’s Budget. Despite heavy pressure for Mr Hammond to loosen austerity, the chancellor’s allies say he has ‘no room for manoeuvre’ and he fears that investors, already worried by Brexit, will be spooked if he abandons a fiscal framework adopted only a year ago. Claims at the weekend that the Budget will be ‘big and bold’ have raised eyebrows in the Treasury, as the chancellor grapples with weak forecasts that could wipe out a large slice of the £26bn buffer he set aside to steer the economy through Brexit.” – FT

Hague: Here’s what Hammond should do

“…So what can a Chancellor do when he has almost no room for manoeuvre and incessant demands at the same time? His priority in recent months has rightly been to press his colleagues to negotiate for a transitional period as we leave the EU, giving reassurance to many businesses if it can be agreed. Yet this budget will inevitably be seen as charting the course of the government over the life of this parliament, including beyond Brexit. It would therefore be wise to set out a philosophy and overall direction of the Government on the economy.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Brown says “little has changed” since the financial crisis and guilty bankers should’ve been jailed – FT

More Government

  • Talk again of reversals to legal aid cuts as MoJ launches review – The Sun
  • Johnson “condemns” Corbyn for not attending Israel dinner – Daily Express
  • GPs to vote on “breaking away from NHS” – Daily Telegraph
  • DUP and SF miss another deadline – Belfast News Letter

America: Manafort indicted

“President Trump’s former campaign chief is due to make a first appearance in a Washington court this afternoon after being charged with overseeing a money-laundering scheme that moved more than $75 million from pro-Russia political groups through a labyrinth of offshore accounts. The criminal charges against Paul Manafort are the first to emerge from the invesitgation led by Robert Mueller, the former FBI chief, into claims of Russian meddling in last year’s presidential campaign.” – The Times

  • He and Gates plead not guilty – Guardian
  • Papadopoulos “admits lying” about Russian-linked meetings – Daily Telegraph

Comment:

  • The Mueller investigation has reached a “muscular phase” – Rob Crilly,  Daily Telegraph
  • Indictments do funny things – Richard Wolffe, Guardian

More foreign politics

News in Brief

  • America needs to think about liberalism – Yuli Tamir, CapX
  • And about Manafort – Walter Ellis, Reaction
  • It’s all about Luther – David Maddox, BrexitCentral
  • Could the Conservatives be about to lose their majority? – Stephen Bush, New Statesman
  • The Spacey statement – Michael Schulman, New Yorker

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