Newstalk
Newstalk

13.58 29 Oct 2017


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Britain's international trade minister Mark Garnier will be investigated over a possible breach of ministerial rules after he admitted asking a former aide to buy sex toys.

The UK's Cabinet Office will probe whether the MP broke a code after he confirmed allegations made by his former secretary, including that he called her "sugar t***".

British Prime Minister Theresa May will also write to House of Commons Speaker John Bercow, to ask how a sexual harassment scandal engulfing Westminster can best be addressed.

It comes as Mrs May was reported to get weekly updates about indiscretions by her MPs from Conservative Party whips, leading to calls for allegations to be reported to police.

The Westminster scandal broke following the revelation female staff in tghe British parliament use a WhatsApp group to warn each other about senior figures from across political parties.

Married father-of-three Mr Garnier told the Mail on Sunday he did not contest the claims against him and conceded it could "look like dinosaur behaviour", but strongly denied sexual harassment.

The former investment banker claimed his reference to ex-aide Caroline Edmondson as "sugar t***" was part of "an amusing conversation" based on TV comedy Gavin & Stacey, which uses the phrase.

He also described asking married Ms Edmondson to buy sex toys as "good-humoured high jinks" after a Christmas lunch, with Mr Garnier claiming he told her he did not think it was a good idea.

Ms Edmondson, who stopped working for the MP shortly after the incidents in 2010, disputed Mr Garnier's version of events, telling the newspaper: "He has lied."

He described Ms Edmondson as a "disgruntled" former employee.


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