- Nadhim Zahawi says he was “uncomfortable” about a male-only event he attended in which women were allegedly groped and harassed.
- The Education minister says he left the event once women were “introduced”.
- A Labour peer also attended part of the event but says he wasn’t ‘aware’ of the men’s behaviour.
- A spokesman for the prime minister says Zahawi will not attend again.
LONDON – A government minister who attended a male-only event where women were allegedly subject to widespread sexual assaults, has said that he was “uncomfortable” with the event and left as soon as the women were “introduced” to the men.
A spokesperson for Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday that her education minister Nadhim Zahawi “felt uncomfortable” about the event and left “at the point the hostesses were introduced by the host.”
They added that Zahawi “will not be attending again,” and that “he himself probably regrets the decision to go.”
The spokesman said the prime minister was also “uncomfortable” about the reports of the event, which was attended by leading figures in politics, finance and the media.
However, the spokesman told Business Insider that May had not spoken to Zahawi about the event and he was “not aware of any plans to do so.”
Zahawi later condemned the event, tweeting that “I do unequivocally condemn this behaviour. The report is truly shocking. I will never attend a men-only function ever.”
I do unequivocally condemn this behaviour. The report is truly shocking. I will never attend a men only function ever.
— Nadhim Zahawi (@nadhimzahawi) January 24, 2018
His comments come as a member of the Department of Education’s board, David Meller, stood down over his co-chairmanship of the event.
“David Meller is stepping down as non-executive member for the Department for Education and the apprenticeship delivery board, and I know that the secretary of state is absolutely clear that this is the right thing to do,” the Education Minister Anne Milton told MPs.
The Labour peer Jonathan Mendelsohn was also at the dinner. A spokesman for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that questions about his appearance “are probably best addressed to him.”
However, they added: “As I understand it, he has said he was present as a representative of a charity that benefited from the event but was only present for part of the event, wasn’t aware of this behaviour and completely condemns it.”