Justice Minister Dominic Raab has called the Westminster sex pest list “a form of harassment and intimidation”.
The Tory MP has taken legal advice and strongly denies claims made about him on the list, reportedly compiled by two parliamentary researchers and circulated on social media.
Next to his name is the sentence ‘Injunction for inappropriate behaviour with a woman’, but Raab said no such injunction exists. He adds that the list is itself a “form of harassment and intimidation”.
Writing on his own website, Raab said: “I appreciate the Westminster list will encourage a further media feeding frenzy against MPs. I also recognise that there are undoubtedly some very disturbing allegations out there, which need to be taken seriously.
“At the same time, for anonymous individuals to compile and publish, or allow to be published, a list of vague, unsubstantiated and – in my case – false allegations is wrong.
“It is also a form of harassment and intimidation, although of course I am not suggesting it is the same or equivalent. Still, accountability should mean properly investigating any reports of abuse, without irresponsibly smearing those who have done nothing wrong.”
The MP said serious allegations must be properly investigated but added that the list was littered with accusations that were “gossip or unsubstantiated rumours”.
Raab said: “I should make it completely clear, at the outset, that I regard any such behaviour by any MP against staff or colleagues as totally unacceptable. It should be reported and dealt with either by the police if it amounts to criminal behaviour, or to the relevant Parliamentary or Conservative Party authorities.
“I have no idea what the truth is in relation to the references by the side of each of the forty or so names on the Westminster list, other than those who have now spoken publicly. However, even on their own terms, some of the accusations appear to be gossip or unsubstantiated rumours – rather than credible reports of abuse.
“Under my own name, the entry reads: “Injunction for inappropriate behaviour with a woman”. And yet, I have never been served with any injunction for anything. Nor have I ever sought one. Equally, any insinuation that I have engaged in anything resembling sexual harassment, sexually abusive behaviour or lewd remarks with either Parliamentary colleagues or staff (in any job I have done) is false and malicious. I have already taken legal advice.”
Theresa May’s effective deputy, First Secretary of State Damian Green, has also taken legal advice after it was claimed he made inappropriate advances to female Tory activist Kate Maltby, now an academic and columnist for the Times. Green denies the accusation.
Sophie Bolsover, a woman who previously worked for Tory MP Rory Stewart, has also denied claims on the list her boss did not behave appropriately towards her.
She said he was “never anything other than completely professional and an excellent employer”.
Raab won a libel case against the Mail on Sunday in 2012.
The newspaper claimed that he bullied a female colleague when he worked as David Davis’ chief of staff.
He was awarded a five-figure sum in damages and the MoS printed an apology.
Raab said the “vexatious story” was the “only tenuous link” he could think of for his inclusion on the list.