World

British politician under probe over sex toy errand

LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered an investigation into a report that one of her ministers asked a secretary to buy sex toys for him, as she tries to tackle a culture of sexual harassment in politics.

Mr Mark Garnier, a junior International Trade Minister, asked Ms Caroline Edmondson to buy sex toys and called her "sugar t***", reported the Daily Mail on Sunday.

He told the paper that the comment was part of an amusing conversation about a TV show and asking her to buy the toys was "good-humoured high jinks".

Ms Edmondson, in comments to the paper, disputed Mr Garnier's recollection of the incidents.

That came after another British newspaper, The Sun, last Friday described a culture of sexual harassment in Parliament.

After The Sun report, Mrs May's spokesman said that any unwanted sexual behaviour was "completely unacceptable" and any minister who acted inappropriately would face "serious action".

Mrs May, in a letter released to media, had also asked Mr John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, the lower house of Parliament, on Sunday for advice on changing the culture there.

She said measures such as a disciplinary procedure suggested by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority and a voluntary code of conduct offered by the Conservative Party to its lawmakers did not go far enough.

She said: "We must establish a House-wide mediation service complemented by a contractually binding grievance procedure available for all MPs irrespective of their party banner." - REUTERS

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