Tory MP asked secretary to buy sex toys, called her 'sugar tits'

Mark Garnier.
Mark Garnier. Photo credit: Twitter/Mark Garnier

British Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered an investigation into a report that one of her ministers asked a female secretary to buy sex toys for him.

Mark Garnier, a junior International Trade Minister, asked secretary Caroline Edmondson to buy two sex toys and he also called her "sugar tits", the Mail on Sunday reported.

Mr Garnier told the newspaper the comment was part of an amusing conversation about a television show and that asking her to buy the toys was "good-humoured hijinks".

Ms Edmondson, in comments to the paper, disputed Mr Garnier's recollection of the incidents, including his assertion that they were "hijinks".

The report comes after Ms May's spokeswoman said on Friday any unwanted sexual behaviour was "completely unacceptable" and any minister who acted inappropriately would face "serious action".

She was reacting to a report in another British newspaper that described a culture of sexual harassment among MPs and their staff working in parliament.

Health Minister Jeremy Hunt said on Sunday Ms May had asked officials to investigate if Mr Garnier, whose role is outside the cabinet immediately surrounding Ms May, had broken the government ministers' code of behaviour.

"These stories, if they are true, are obviously totally unacceptable," Mr Hunt told BBC television.

"The Cabinet Office will be conducting an investigation as to whether there has been a breach of the ministerial code in this particular case, but as you know the facts are disputed."

Ms May will also write to John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, to ask for his advice about changing the culture there, Mr Hunt said.

Reports of inappropriate behaviour in British politics, and in other industries, have followed dozens of allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.

Reuters