‘Keep your hands in your pockets’: All women in parliament have faced ‘wandering hands’, says female minister

All women in parliament have been subjected to “wandering hands”, a female cabinet minister has said as she told male MPs “to keep your hands in your pockets”.

Speaking to Sky News International Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan said there were some men at Westminster who felt being elected made them “God’s gift to women” and that they can “please themselves”.

The Tory frontbencher made her comments to Sky News, amid renewed accusations of misogyny and sexual misconduct in parliament, including claims a Tory MP watched pornography in the Commons chamber.

Minister accepts UK visa scheme for Ukrainian refugees is ‘slow’ and ‘cumbersome’ – follow the Politics Hub

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Watching porn in Commons ‘unacceptable’, says PM

“I think all of us as women in parliament have been subjected to inappropriate language, to you know, wandering hands as my granny used to call it. It doesn’t change,” she said.

“The vast majority of the men I work with are delightful, they are committed parliamentarians, they are passionate about the causes they fight.

“But there are a few, for whom, too much drink or indeed a sort of a view that somehow being elected makes them, you know, God’s gift to women, that they can suddenly please themselves.

“That is never OK, that kind of behaviour, disrespect for women.”

She added: “Fundamentally, if you’re a bloke, keep your hands in your pockets and behave as you would if you had your daughter in the room.”

She went on: “I’m very comfortable calling out anybody who thinks that their wandering hands are OK. And I have done it a number of times over the years.”

Ms Trevelyan also branded claims a Conservative MP watched pornography in the Commons as a “completely inappropriate activity”.

The politician in question has not been named publicly but two female Tory MPs informed the party’s chief whip during a meeting on Tuesday they had seen the male MP watching porn on his phone in the chamber.

Chris Heaton-Harris, the Tory chief whip, has ordered an investigation into the pornography allegations.

The allegations came in the wake of reports suggesting 56 MPs, including three cabinet ministers, are facing claims of sexual misconduct that have been referred to an official complaints service.

Meanwhile, a Mail on Sunday report citing anonymous Tory MPs – who claimed that Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner deliberately crossed and uncrossed her legs to distract Boris Johnson in the Commons – has sparked criticism across the political divide.

Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the treasury told Sky News it had been a “bad week for politics”.

Opposition frontbencher Pat McFadden said: “These things seem out of time, and women today, whether in politics or journalism, or any other workplace, are clearly not going to put up with the kind of language and behaviour that we’ve seen this week, or that we might have seen years or decades ago.

“If I had one conclusion from the whole thing it’s that all of this just seems out of time with the age we’re living in.

“It’s 2022, it’s not some time decades ago. So these behaviours do no good for politics and that matters, because this is the arena whereby the nation has to work out its problems.”