Fresh allegations of sex harassment at Westminster have emerged as a leading TV producer claimed she was groped in 10 Downing Street by a Government official.
Daisy Goodwin, creator of the ITV drama series ‘Victoria’, said that the man touched her breast during a meeting to discuss a programme idea.
In an article for the Radio Times, Goodwin revealed that the incident took place under David Cameron’s premiership and that she dealt with it verbally humiliating the man involved.
Downing Street said that the Cabinet Office would look into any formal complaint if Goodwin decided to make one.
The claim is just the latest to hit Westminster, and follows allegations that a string of MPs and ministers have made unwanted sexual advances.
Cabinet Minister Damian Green and International Trade minister Mark Garnier are both facing inquiries into their conduct, while former Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon quit this month after admitting he had failed to live up to the high standards expected of ministers.
Goodwin, who made her name as a poet but has become a leading TV writer and producer, told the Radio Times how she was “summoned” to Downing Street to discuss her idea for a TV programme.
The official, “who was a few years younger than me”, showed her into a room dominated by a portrait of Margaret Thatcher.
He then surprised her by putting his feet on her chair and telling her sunglasses “made me look like a Bond Girl”, she said.
She tried to turn the conversation back onto her project, but “at the end of the meeting we both stood up and the official, to my astonishment, put his hand on my breast”.
“I looked at the hand and then in my best Lady Bracknell voice said, ‘Are you actually touching my breast?’ He dropped his hand and laughed nervously. I swept out in what can only be called high dudgeon. I wasn’t traumatised, I was cross.”
Goodwin added that by the next day the encounter had “become an anecdote, The Day I Was Groped In Number 10, and it hadn’t occurred to her to report the incident.
But she added: “Now, in the light of all the really shocking stories that have come out about abusive behaviour by men in power from Hollywood to Westminster, I wonder if my Keep Calm and Carry on philosophy, inherited from my parents, was correct? The answer is, I am not sure.
“I think humiliating the official was probably the appropriate punishment, but suppose he tried it on with someone less able to defend themselves?”
A No.10 spokesperson said: “Allegations such as this are taken very seriously. The Cabinet Office would look into any formal complaint, should one be made.”