Robert Peston wades in over Beeb's sex-pest claims: Former BBC journalist says culture of sexism has existed at the corporation for years

Westminster watcher Robert Peston has mischievously added his pennyworth to the sexual harassment scandal

Westminster watcher Robert Peston has mischievously added his pennyworth to the sexual harassment scandal

Floppy-haired Westminster watcher Robert Peston has mischievously added his pennyworth to the scandal surrounding the blizzard of allegations of sexual harassment.

The ITV political editor, who used to work for the BBC, has said a malign culture of sexism has existed at the Corporation for many years.

His comments come as the BBC’s deputy director-general, Anne Bulford, says that 25 ‘live cases’ of possible sex harassment are currently being investigated — compared with only three com-plaints in the whole of last year.

Peston, the Beeb’s former economics editor, said: ‘Most conversations I have with women in my industry right now move swiftly to stories of how they lived for years with uninvited lunges from colleagues, lewd comments and schoolboy electronic messages — “I can see your knickers”.’

Displayed prominently in new International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt’s previous office as junior minister at the Department of Work and Pensions was the original Lady Penelope puppet doll from the Thunderbirds TV show

Displayed prominently in new International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt’s previous office as junior minister at the Department of Work and Pensions was the original Lady Penelope puppet doll from the Thunderbirds TV show

He told the New Statesman magazine: ‘The BBC, which employed me for years, has a tawdry history of putting the reputation of the institution ahead of the welfare of female staff.?

'Not many years ago, women who complained about the predatory sexual behaviour of bosses were encouraged not to make a fuss — and were stealthily moved to new jobs.

‘Their bosses might have been quietly told to show more common sense, but serious sanctions were there none.’

So why on earth didn’t Peston raise his concerns with BBC management at the time?

It's Thunderbirds are go, Penny?

Displayed prominently in new International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt’s previous office as junior minister at the Department of Work and Pensions was the original Lady Penelope puppet doll from the Thunderbirds TV show.

Mordaunt, who was named Penelope Mary by her parents, borrowed it from the Government’s art collection and had it placed in a glass case.

Lady Penelope — employed by International Rescue, not Development — was an aristocrat, a secret agent and the subject of many a schoolboy crush.

A case of Miss Mordaunt, Thunderbirds Are Go!

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  • Amid all the discussion of political sex pests, what has happened to the inquiry into Labour MP Keith Vaz? For, a year on since the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards was asked to look into claims that Vaz offered to buy drugs for two rent boys, there have been no official findings. Andrew Bridgen, the Tory MP who lodged the original complaint against Vaz, who denies impropriety, tells me: ‘Justice delayed is justice denied.’?
Amid all the discussion of political sex pests, what has happened to the inquiry into Labour MP Keith Vaz?

Amid all the discussion of political sex pests, what has happened to the inquiry into Labour MP Keith Vaz?

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  • Patriotic Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has leapt to the defence of the Queen over the revelation that some of her money was invested offshore. He told his local paper: ‘Most offshore investment is entirely legitimate... It is simple in terms of regulation and honest for tax purposes. The Queen’s holdings fall squarely into this category.’?
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  • Anti-Brexit former deputy PM Lord Heseltine has published a glossy 74-page industrial strategy. Keen for fellow peers to learn from his business expertise, he delivered a copy into the pigeon-holes of all 800 members of the Lords. My Second Chamber mole tells me that most ended in the bin.?

Osborne backs Amber for leader?

What next for George Osborne? A profile of the ex-Chancellor-turned-novice-editor in GQ magazine says his priority is to help Home Secretary Amber Rudd, a prominent Remainer, become the next Tory leader.

It says the pair have been allies since he appointed her as his parliamentary private secretary in 2012 and he has ‘repeatedly talked her up’ in comment articles in his newspaper, the London Evening Standard.

As for Osborne, GQ suggests he is not finished with politics and could stand for election as London Mayor in 2020.

A conspicuous absentee from the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on Saturday night was Jeremy Corbyn. No official explanation was given — although Corbyn was at the Cenotaph yesterday. His predecessor as Labour leader, Ed Miliband, never missed the Saturday event.?

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