Last week, the Murdoch goons at the Super Soaraway Currant Bun told the world that there were going to be names named - correct - and resignations - not correct - by the weekend as a result of Male MPs’ inappropriate behaviour towards women. Well, here we are on Sunday, at the end of that weekend, and the harvest from the Sun’s crop is looking decidedly thin. As this blog suggested at the time.
Let’s start with what has been turned up. Former minister Stephen Crabb, who ran briefly for the Tory Party leadership after Young Dave took his bat home in the wake of last year’s EU referendum, has been shown to have sent a number of variously explicit messages to a woman who applied - unsuccessfully - for a job in the Commons. He met her on several occasions. But she wasn’t working at the Commons, and he hasn’t resigned.
Indeed, MPs straying from the marital straight and narrow when at Westminster is not the most unusual of occurrences. This story was unearthed by the Telegraph, which has told readers “Stephen Crabb … admitted saying ‘some pretty outrageous things’ to the woman after interviewing her for a job, and that the messages ‘basically amount to unfaithfulness’ … a friend of the woman … accused the MP … of ‘abusing his position’”.
More on the money is the Mail on Sunday’s political editor Simon Walters who has nailed Brexit minister Mark Garnier. He “was at the centre of a new Westminster sexism row last night after admitting he called his secretary ‘sugar t*ts’ and got her to buy sex toys for him”. Can’t the MoS say tits? Bloody hell, what a bunch of prudes.
Apparently not. It is claimed “Garnier called her ‘sugar t*ts’ in front of witnesses … And she said he gave her cash to buy two vibrators at a sex shop in Soho - and stood outside the store while she bought them”. So he’s a coward as well. And a bounder to boot!
Walters also juxtaposes Garnier’s actions with the slight difficulty his party leader now faces: “Theresa May’s spokesman said on Friday that unwanted sexual behaviour was ‘completely unacceptable’ and any Ministers found to have acted inappropriately would face ‘serious action’”. Any appetite for losing yet another Brexit minister?
Indeed, the most serious problem from what has now been revealed faces Theresa May and her party. As the Murdoch Sunday Times reported, and the Mail has now lifted (see how that works, Rupe?) “The announcement comes after reports that the PM gets weekly updates on the sleaze scandals her MPs are embroiled in - but has allowed ministers accused of being sex pests to serve in her Cabinet”.
What happened to John Mann’s Commons bluster last week? So far, it’s all been Tories who are being accused, and in a few cases, exposed. We hear of cabinet ministers who can’t deport themselves decently - but so far no-one will name names, although this blog would have no problem with filling in at least two of the blanks - maybe three.
Why this should be is down to one teensy problem: it’s one thing to drop names during a WhatsApp chat - and quite another to stand up a story for publication. It is no coincidence that the Sun’s splash last week was authored by someone who came to the paper from a group blog that has sometimes had problems understanding this.