Young people have a “puritanical” view of what counts as sexual harassment, a senior Tory MP has said.
Kemi Badenoch, a vice chairman of the party, also said recent criticisms of the TV show Friends for homophobia showed “something has gone wrong somewhere” in society.
“I remember having a discussion with someone and even what we thought was quite liberal is now seen as quite conservative and vice versa. Attitudes that we thought were quite conservative are now seen as being liberal. There’s almost a huge change that’s going on,” she told The House magazine.
“Younger people look at appropriate behaviours and what is a sexual advance, what is sexual harassment and so on. To me, it’s actually becoming a lot more puritanical than anything I ever saw in my 20s or in my teens.
Badenoch, who was elected as the MP for Saffron Walden in 2017, was put in charge selecting Conservative candidates for the 2022 general election by Theresa May in the reshuffle.
Badenoch also said the accusations leveled at` Friends, which has had something of a relaunch after it was added to the Netflix catalogue, was misplaced.
“In the papers, they were talking about how Friends is now sort of really homophobic, transphobic and so on. That, for me, is a very, very – it’s actually a puritanical position, which I think of as conservative. So, you can’t really put your finger on what is what these days,” she said.
Badenoch is seen as a rising star in the party and introduced May ahead of the prime minister’s speech at the Tory party conference in Manchester last year.