Westminster worker says her drink was spiked with a date-rape drug at a Parliament bar used by MPs

The Houses of Parliament

The Houses of Parliament
Marko Djurica/Reuters

    Communications officer says her drink was spiked with a date rape drug at a parliamentary bar popular with MPs earlier this year. Jo Tanner writes for the Times that parliamentary authorities let her down after the incident that left her feeling “frightened and violated.” Westminster has been rocked by a sexual harassment scandal that has forced a Cabinet minister to resign.

LONDON – The co-founder of a London-based communications firm has said that her drink was spiked with a date rape drug when she visited a Houses of Parliament bar used by MPs earlier this year.

Jo Tanner, a founding partner of InHouse Communications who has worked in Westminster for two decades, had her drink spiked in the Strangers’ Bar where MPs, journalists and other Westminster staff regularly socialise, she writes for the Times today.

She describes blacking out after leaving the bar and only being able to “piece together” what happened in the house that followed with the help of CCTV footage and people who had seen her on that evening.

Here’s an excerpt from Tanner’s piece for the Times:

“It is only from CCTV footage, later recovered by the police, that I know what happened next. I still feel sick at the description of me “bouncing off the walls as I zigzagged along the corridor” immediately outside the bar. I managed to get to Central Lobby where I sat on my own for at least 15 minutes, speaking to nobody, doing nothing.

“I was not assaulted, that I can remember or have evidence of. I arrived home fully clothed but unable to speak properly. In the middle of the night I awoke and tried to pull apart the furniture in my bedroom. I was acting in a completely deranged manner. When my husband filled me in on my behaviour the following day, it was just a blank.”

Tanner goes on to say that numerous police and parliamentary officials “would have seen” her on the evening of the incident but none “appeared to have taken an interest in my [her] welfare.”

She also criticises the current system for reporting incidents. “Nobody from the parliamentary authorities ever contacted me. The system to report anything from the minor to the serious clearly doesn’t work,” she writes. She previously told the Evening Standard that police told her it was “not the first time” that drink-spiking allegations had been made inside the Commons.

Tanner’s story is just the latest episode in a scandal that has engulfed British politics relating to the inappropriate sexual behaviour of MPs towards Westminster staff.

On Wednesday evening Michael Fallon became the first Cabinet minister to resign from his post after he was accused by journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer of touching her knee at a Conservative party conference over a decade ago.

Last night Labour suspended its MP Kelvin Hopkins after he was accused of sending inappropriate text messages to a young woman and rubbing himself up against her at a political event in 2013.

Kelvin Hopkins MP.

Kelvin Hopkins MP.
Ben Pruchnie / Getty

Business Insider understands that the leaders’ office was aware of the text message from Hopkins in 2015 and that he was reprimanded by the whips office, but that the matter was then considered closed. Hopkins was promoted to Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet in 2016.

A dossier detailing allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour by Conservative MPs and Cabinet ministers has been circulating in Westminster this week.

The document, seen in full by Business Insider, contains mostly unverified claims, ranging from private acts between consenting adults to more serious allegations of unwanted sexual advances and sexual harassment. A number of well-known MPs are included in the dossier.

One minister, Mark Garnier, has already admitted to asking a member of staff to buy sex toys for him, while also referring to her as “sugar t—-,” while former work and pensions secretary, Stephen Crabb, has admitted engaging in “sexual chatter” with a 19-year-old applying for a job with him.