Dawn Butler MP, Labour’s Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary, responding to Matt Hancock’s claim that accusations of sexual harassment could just be part of the prime minister’s “private life”, and something he doesn’t have to answer questions about, said:
“When women speak out, those in power should have the decency to listen and take action.
“Dismissing sexual harassment allegations as a private matter has been used to silence women for centuries. The Health Secretary should apologise for his disgraceful remarks.
“The Prime Minister must be held to account for these accusations.
“No man, no matter how powerful, should get away with abusing his position to harass women.”
Notes to editors
In response to Charlotte Edwardes’ column, Matt Hancock said: “Boris has never lectured other people about their private lives.” https://twitter.com/Martha_Gill/status/1178297141577605120?s=20
In 2005 – in a piece about the Spectator’s headquarters, where Charlotte Edwardes alleges the incident took place – Boris Johnson wrote that the way to deal with advice from a female colleague was to “pat her on the bottom and send her on her way”.
“It’s only Kimberly, with some helpful suggestions for boosting circulation. Just pat her on the bottom and send her on her way.” Spectator, 17 December 2005, http://archive.spectator.co.uk/article/17th-december-2005/23/welcome-to-doughty-street