The Home Secretary has come under fire for joking about spiking his wife’s drink with a date rape drug.
James Cleverly said the long secret to a marriage is to ensure your wife is “someone who is always mildly sedated so she can never realise there are better men out there.”
Cleverly is facing calls to resign or be sacked after women’s rights group the Fawcett Society said Cleverly’s comments were “sickening.”
The Home Secretary apologised for his “ironic joke” at a Downing Street reception where he had told female guests “a little bit of Rohypnol in her drink every night” is “not really illegal if it’s only a little bit”, the Sunday Mirror reported.
A spokesman for the Home Secretary 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.”
Alex Davies-Jones, shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding, said, “‘It was a joke’ is the most tired excuse in the book and no-one is buying it.
“If the Home Secretary is serious about tackling spiking, and violence against women and girls, then that requires a full cultural change. The ‘banter’ needs to stop and it has to start at the top.”
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: “Spiking is a disturbing and serious crime which is having a devastating impact on young women’s lives. It is truly unbelievable that the Home Secretary made such appalling jokes on the very same day the Government announced new policy on spiking.
“It suggests that despite being the Cabinet minister ultimately responsible for tackling violence against women and girls he doesn’t get how serious this is. Victims will understandably be questioning if they can trust him to take this vile crime seriously.”
The Fawcett Society chief executive Jemima Olchawski said, “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.
“No wonder women don’t feel safe.
“We know that ‘banter’ is the excuse under which misogyny is allowed to thrive.
“How can we trust him to seriously address violence against women and girls? We deserve better than this from our lawmakers and Cleverly should resign.”