Emily Thornberry Slams James Cleverly Over 'Ironic' Spiking Joke: 'Should Be Thoroughly Ashamed'

The home secretary apologised after allegedly making a comment about his wife at a drinks reception.
Home secretary James Cleverly
Home secretary James Cleverly
Future Publishing via Getty Images

Emily Thornberry took aim at home secretary James Cleverly for allegedly making a joke about spiking his wife’s drink with a date-rape drug.

Cleverly reportedly told a No.10 drinks reception that putting a “little bit of Rohypnol in her drink every night” was “not really illegal if it’s only a little bit”.

He supposedly also said the ideal partner is “someone who is always mildly sedated so she can never realise there are better men other there”.

These alleged comments were made on the same day as the Home Office unveiled new proposals to crack down on spiking drinks, December 18, when Cleverly had described spiking as a “perverse crime”.

A spokesperson for Cleverly later said: “In what was always understood as a private conversation, James, the home secretary, tackling spiking made what was clearly meant to be an ironic joke – for which he apologises.”

A No.10 spokesperson has said the matter was now closed as Cleverly has apologised.

However, when the shadow attorney general spoke to ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Thursday, she said otherwise.

Thornberry said: “It’s closed, is it?

“Well the home secretary, the person who is supposed to be responsible for the security of all of us – and half of us are women, hello – is such a misogynist that he can’t have a relationship with women, or have sex with women, without drugging them first.”

“Ha, ha, ha,” she added, without a smile.

“That is not funny, that’s a really nasty and frightening joke and he should be thoroughly ashamed of himself.”

She added that the home secretary is “well out of touch with real people living their lives day to day” if he thinks such jokes are funny.

Thornberry also told LBC: “I think that we should have a general election and get a chance to get rid of the whole lot of them.”

Cleverly allegedly made the remarks at a drinks reception, where conversations are usually kept off the record.

However, the Sunday Mirror decided to breach this convention because of Cleverly’s seniority and the content of his alleged comments.

In the days since his supposed remarks were publicised, Cleverly has received widespread backlash.

The women’s rights organisation, the Fawcett Society, asked Cleverly to resign. It added: “How can we trust him to seriously address violence against women and girls?”

The charity wrote in a statement: “It’s sickening that the senior minister in charge of keeping women safe thinks that something as terrifying as drugging women is a laughing matter.”

Charity Women’s Aid said political leaders need to “take action to end violence against women and girls and the misogyny that underpins it.”

It added: “It is vital that spiking survivors see ministers treating the subject seriously and not downplaying the reality so many women face.”


What's Hot