Civil servant accused Boris Johnson's minister of sexual harassment

5 October 2022, 10:28

Parliament building in London
Parliament building in London. Picture: Getty
Fran Way

By Fran Way

The Conservative Party is at the centre of another scandal after a civil servant accused an ex-minister, who served under Boris Johnson, of sexual harassment.

The ex-minister, who is still a serving politician, was accused of making inappropriate comments to the woman but according to The Independent agreed to an out-of-court payment in the summer.

It is understood that the former Prime Minister was aware of the incident ‘informally’ before the ministers’ exit.

After reviewing the alleged remarks, senior officials at number 10 decided that an investigation was not warranted.

The Independent say that the minister attempted to resolve the matter himself by sending a personal letter of apology to the woman, but she pushed for an investigation into alleged sexual harassment, which was not approved.

The victim was also unable to push for the matter to be dealt with by the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) office at the government because it deals with complaints related to current or former members of the parliamentary estate – but not civil servants.

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Under ministerial code, the Prime Minister has the final say on whether to launch an investigation into alleged misconduct.

This has prompted fresh calls for Liz Truss to hire an ‘independent ethics advisor’, amid concerns that predatory behaviour and misconduct was allowed to flourish under Mr Johnson’s time in office. But the new PM has previously said she won’t be appointing a new advisor because she knows the difference between ‘right and wrong’.

According to the paper another woman who worked with the former minister claimed she also experienced unwanted remarks about the length of her dress and how he found it attractive.

She knew about the claims of sexual misconduct by the other civil servant and said it was ‘important that people understand that this isn’t a one-off’.

It is understood that the minister denies making any inappropriate remarks to either woman.