NEWS
03/11/2017 18:24 GMT

Journalist Petronella Wyatt Tells Today Programme She Was 'Flattered' By Groping In Westminster

'A lot of abuse or sexual harassment is a breach of good manners'.

A senior political journalist has revealed she was “flattered” by men groping her when she worked in Westminster in the 1990s, during a heated exchange on Radio 4′s Today programme.

Petronella Wyatt appeared with Women’s Equality Party leader and former political reporter Sophie Walker to talk about their experiences of working in politics, as allegations of sexual harassment continue to rock the chambers.

Wyatt, who is the former deputy editor of the Spectator, told host Michelle Hussein: “There were a couple of men that were a bit gropey. But do you know what? I was flattered.”

Her response was met with shock:

Wyatt, who is the daughter of the late Labour MP Woodrow Wyatt, also came under fire for suggesting the instances of sexual harassment were partly down to bad manners and a lack of “gallantry”.

“A lot of abuse or sexual harassment is a breach of good manners,” she claimed, adding “women have waived their right to gallantry by saying we’re the same as men”.

Again, the Twitter backlash was fierce.

The irony was not lost when Walker said “women’s voices are being drowned out” - only to be cut off by Wyatt shouting “they’re not being drowned out at all.”

Wyatt also accused Walker of “belittling” the severity of some of the accusations against MPs by ”equating a silly text message or a grope with rape.”

Walker responded to say “it’s all on the same spectrum” when Wyatt again interrupted to say “no, it’s not.”

Many thought her own manners were the ones that could do with some work.

Theresa May has written to John Bercow to set out a new code of conduct for Tory MPs, following a series of allegations relating to sexual harassment at Westminster.