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World
30 Oct 2017

UK minister asked female aide to buy sex toys

British PM Theresa May has ordered a probe after allegations surfaced that one of her ministers requested a female assistant to buy sex toys and passed sexist comments about her.

The probe came after the Daily Mail reported the allegations against the department for international trade minister Mark Garnier.

It comes as May attempts to address issues of harassment of staff by British MPs.

In context

UK MPs hit by sexual harassment allegations
What are the allegations against Garnier?

Allegations

What are the allegations against Garnier?

In 2010, Garnier reportedly gave his assistant Caroline Edmondson funds to procure sex toys for his wife and another woman.

Edmondson said Garnier waited outside a shop in Soho, London, while she bought two vibrators.

On another occasion at a bar, he also made sexist comments about Edmondson, saying, "You are going nowhere, sugar t**s."

Reaction

Garnier accepts allegations but said it doesn't constitute harassment

The Daily Mail said Garnier has accepted the allegations, saying, "I'm not going to deny it, because I'm not going to be dishonest."

Garnier said his actions may be considered "dinosaur behavior" by current standards but "It absolutely does not constitute harassment."

He now faces a Cabinet Office investigation which will determine if he broke ministerial rules.

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Another MP sent sexually explicit messages to 19-year-old woman

Meanwhile, Stephen Crabb, another MP of May's Conservative party, became the subject of a controversy after she admitted to sending sexual messages to a 19-year-old woman who he had interviewed for a job in 2013. Crabb said he'd been "foolish" and apologized for his actions.

How May hopes to address harassment charges against MPs

Addressing problems

How May hopes to address harassment charges against MPs

To address the growing claims of harassment of staff by MPs in Parliament, PM May has called for new grievance procedures.

She said the current procedures are outdated and don't go far enough in protecting parliamentary employees, many of whom were young and doing their first jobs.

She said it's important that Parliamentary workers are treated "properly and fairly" as in any modern workplace.

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