Michael Fabricant, the Tory MP for Lichfield, has controversially suggested that politicians who are drunk should not be accused of committing serious sexual assaults such as rape.
Speaking to BBC Newsnight, Fabricant said that people who commit acts of sexual assault should be considered ‘blameless’ if ‘everyone was sloshed at the time’.
Whilst admitting that ‘you sometimes get’ drunk people being accused of committing sexual assault, Fabricant went on to say ‘we’ve got to be very careful that we don’t get into that situation’ – blaming a ‘growing witch hunt mentality’ for the recent allegations of sexual assault.
The MP also dismissed recent allegations of sexual assault as just rumours.
Fabricant’s comments came after Labour MP Harriet Harman attacked the House of Common’s ‘toxic atmosphere of sleazy, sexist or homophobic banter’.
Michael Fabricant himself has recently been the target of an allegation of sexual assault. He appeared on the now infamous list of Conservative MPs accused of being involved in instances of sexual assault. The list claims that Fabricant was ‘inappropriate with a male journalist in a taxi’.
However, instead of responding to the allegation head-on, Fabricant expressed confusion about what this ‘inappropriate’ behaviour might be, asking ‘Was it a joke which was rude or risqué that I told?’
Amongst the others named on this ‘Tory Sex Pest List’ were 7 Cabinet Ministers, 14 other government Ministers and 8 former Ministers.
Included in this number was Michael Fallon, Secretary of State for Defence, who recently admitted inappropriately touching radio host Julia Hartley-Brewer during a party conference dinner. However, the journalist has since released a statement claiming she has ‘not been a victim’, and that she does not ‘wish to take part in … a Westminster witch hunt’.
You can watch Michael Fabricant’s comments below:
It may be this backwards attitude – that somehow simply reporting instances of sexual assault are akin to a ‘witch hunt’ – that prompted a Westminster staffer to report an her alleged sexually assault by an MP in 2016, also attacking Theresa May’s ‘inadequate’ proposals for dealing with harassment committed by politicians.
The staffer claimed that May would not be independent of political parties whilst dealing with allegations of sexual assault – something which former Labour Deputy Leader Harman is fighting to fix.
In the same speech criticising the House’s ‘toxic atmosphere’, Harman also pointed out that ‘it’s almost impossible for someone at the bottom of the system to complain and make allegations about someone at the top.’
She also said it is necessary that all parties in the House agree on ‘clear, strict rules about what is not acceptable’, demanding for complete ‘independence in adjudicating complaints’.
Politicians like Mr Fabricant to a huge disservice to victims of sexual assault by simply dismissing them as rumour when numerous public allegations have already been made.
Furthermore, implying that people who are drunk are not capable of sexual assault goes completely against the law of the land – something which Mr Fabricant is surely already explicitly aware of.
It seems that, rather than looking to protect victims of serious crimes, Mr Fabricant is simply looking out for himself and his party colleagues.
What a surprise.
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