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‘My knees are intact’, jokes journalist touched by MP

Journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer, who threatened to punch Sir Michael Fallon for repeatedly putting his hand on her knee, today joked her joints are both ‘still intact’.

The Defence Secretary attended a cabinet meeting today as Theresa May said he was ‘right’ to apologise but said he will not be investigated by the Cabinet Office over the 2002 incident.

LBC presenter Hartley-Brewer last night warned the Westminster sex harassment row had become a ‘witch hunt’.

Today she tweeted a picture of her legs and said: ‘Full medical check-up this morning and, yes, both of my knees are still intact. Get a grip, people. Although not on my knee, obviously’. 

Journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer, who threatened to punch Sir Michael Fallon for repeatedly putting his hand on her knee, today joked her joints are both ‘still intact’

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon (left today) has been revealed as the MP who made the gesture to Miss Hartley-Brewer

Julia Hartley-Brewer

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon (left today) has been revealed as the MP who made the gesture to Miss Hartley-Brewer (right) during a Tory party conference in 2002

Yesterday Miss Hartley-Brewer, 49, said she was contacted by journalists about the incident in the wake of wider claims of sexual misconduct, but said she regarded it as ‘mildly amusing’.

Comparing her experience of a ‘misjudged sexual overture’ to serious harassment or assault was ‘absurd and wrong’, she argued.

In a statement on Twitter she wrote: ‘Wild rumours and claims are circulating about many male MPs at Westminster in a media feeding frenzy.

‘I have worked in and around Westminster for 20 years and, as far as I am aware, incidents of genuine harassment involve only a small number of MPs from all parties.

‘I believe it is absurd and wrong to treat workplace banter and flirting – and even misjudged sexual overtures – between consenting adults as being morally equivalent to serious sexual harassment or assault. It demeans genuine victims of real offences. Anyone with any allegations … should speak up now and provide the evidence to ensure any necessary action is taken.

She added: ‘I have not been a victim and I do not wish to take part in what I believe has now become a Westminster witch hunt.’

Miss Hartley-Brewer says the incident involving Sir Michael as ‘mildly amusing’ and not a sexual assault

Miss Hartley-Brewer says the incident involving Sir Michael as ‘mildly amusing’ and not a sexual assault

Miss Hartley-Brewer says she is not a 'victim' and says she is worried it is becoming a 'Westminster witch hunt'

Miss Hartley-Brewer says she is not a ‘victim’ and says she is worried it is becoming a ‘Westminster witch hunt’

Miss Hartley-Brewer said the minister ‘repeatedly put his hand on my knee during a party conference dinner … I calmly and politely explained to him that, if he did it again, I would “punch him in the face”. He withdrew his hand … I have had no issues since with the man and do not regard the incident as anything but mildly amusing, which is why I have declined to name him.’

In the Sunday Express in 2009 she described how he had propositioned her. She wrote: ‘He was, he told me, a firm believer in the long-standing Westminster rule of … “party conferences don’t count”. I was, I told him, a firm believer in not going to bed with other women’s husbands.’

Last night, after Sir Michael had been named, Miss Hartley-Brewer tweeted: ‘Sigh. This “incident” happened in 2002. No one was remotely upset or distressed by it.’

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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