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Sajid Javid: Boris Johnson has not got a 'women problem'
30 September 2019, 08:25
Number 10 have denied claims that Boris Johnson squeezed the journalist Charlotte Edwardes's thigh during a private lunch at The Spectator magazine's then-headquarters in 1999.
Sajid Javid said he has spoke to Boris Johnson, and he’s “absolutely clear that the allegations are untrue”.
He continued: "I think he's very focused on his job, incredible energy, which is to deliver on the priorities tht people want to see."
Earlier, the chancellor attempted to dodge questions surrounding allegations that Boris Johnson squeezed a female journalist's thigh during his time as editor of The Spectator.
Speaking on ITV's Good Morning Britain, Mr Javid said: "I am not getting drawn into that. If you are asking me, separately, whether a man - whoever they are - should be touching a woman's knee without her permission, of course not, I think everyone knows that, that is clear."
"But I'm not commenting on these personal allegations."
His comments come after Ms Edwardes claimed Boris Johnson squeezed her thigh under the table during a private lunch.
Writing in her first column for The Telegraph, she said: "I'm seated on Johnson's right; on his left is a young woman I know."
"More wine is poured; more wine is drunk. Under the table I feel Johnson's hand on my thigh. He gives it a squeeze."
"His hand is high up my leg and he has enough inner flesh beneath his fingers to make me sit suddenly upright."
She continued that after the lunch she had told the young woman sat on the other side of Johnson what had happened.
Ms Edwardes stated that the woman replied: "Oh God, he did exactly the same to me!"
If the prime minister doesn’t recollect the incident then clearly I have a better memory than he does https://t.co/pbcLJThkqP— Charlotte Edwardes (@chedwardes) September 29, 2019
After Number 10 denied the allegations, Ms Edwardes wrote on Twitter: "If the prime minister doesn't recollect the incident then clearly I have a better memory than he does."
Labour's shadow secretary for women and equalities, Dawn Butler, said it was a "shocking but sadly all too familiar story".
She tweeted: "What is it about powerful men feeling entitled to harass women? Boris Johnson has serious questions to answer."
Health Secretary Matt Hancock dismissed the report, saying that there are "always a lot of stories in the papers."
Speaking at a Tory party fringe event in Manchester, he said: "Boris has never lectured other people about their private lives."
"I think that we should concentrate on delivering on what we are in politics for, which in my view is to serve the citizens of this country."
However, when speaking about Ms Edwards, he later stated: "I know her and I know her to be trustworthy."
He added: "I know Charlotte well and I entirely trust what she has to say."