Boris Johnson 'infuriates Priti Patel over plans for harassment laws'

Boris Johnson ‘infuriates Priti Patel by blocking her plan to make sexual harassment a crime’ because he ‘views the issue as mere wolf whistling’

  • Senior Home Office sourced reportedly told Guardian of tension between pair
  • There is reportedly ‘disquiet’ over Mr Johnson’s views regarding misogyny law
  • The Prime Minister said earlier this week that he wanted to use existing statute  
  • Officials said to be concerned he views harassment as ‘mere wold whistling’
  • It comes amid pressure on police and ministers to protect women from violence
  • Officials have faced calls to tighten laws following murder of Sarah Everard 

Boris Johnson is believed to have ‘infuriated’ Priti Patel by overruling attempts to make public sexual harassment a crime, it has today been reported.  

Senior Home Office sources suggest there is tension between the pair over how to better tackle violence against women in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard.

It has led some in the Home Office to fear that the prime minister views the issue of public sexual harassment against women as mere ‘wolf whistling’, according to the Guardian.

It comes after the Prime Minister brushed off calls to formally recognise misogyny as a hate crime.

He instead arguing the ‘abundance’ of existing laws should be better enforced rather than new legislation brought in.

But the move is reported to have caused ‘disquiet’ in the Home Office. 

Meanwhile, on the issue of public sexual harassment towards women, an anonymous Home Office source reportedly told the Guardian: ‘Trying to bring it down to wolf whistling is massively problematic. But we’re going to make this happen. 

Boris Johnson is believed to have ‘infuriated’ Priti Patel by overuling attempts to make public sexual harassment a crime, it has today been reported. Pictured: A protest outside Scotland Yard with cut-out silhouettes representing women who have been killed by male police officers of former police officers


Senior Home Office sources suggest there is tension between Priti Patel (left) and Boris Johnson (right) over how to better tackle violence against women in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard. It has led some in the Home Office to fear that the prime minister views the issue of public sexual harassment against women as mere ‘wolf whistling’, according to t he Guardian

It comes after Ms Patel launched a consultation on tackling violence against women and girls. The petition is said to have drawn 180,000 contributors – most of which are though to have been sent after Ms Everard’s (pictured) murder in March

Priti Patel will unveil a major ‘hire and fire’ shake-up for police chief roles 

By Brendan Carlin and Anna Mikhailova for the Mail on Sunday

Priti Patel is set to unveil a major ‘hire and fire’ shake-up of how police chiefs are chosen in the wake of the Sarah Everard tragedy.

The Home Secretary plans a ‘blueprint for succession’ for Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick and chief constables across England.

She will take action to end what allies condemn as the ‘Buggins’ turn’ system of how chief constables are taken on – one in which appointments seem to be made in rotation rather than by merit.

The shake-up emerged amid reports that Ms Patel only agreed to extend Dame Cressida’s term of office last month because there was no one suitable to replace her.

But her plans also follow claims of friction between the Home Secretary and the Met Commissioner, who has faced calls to quit in the wake of the brutal killing of Ms Everard by serving Met police officer Wayne Couzens in March.

The Mail on Sunday understands that between Ms Everard’s disappearance and Couzens’s arrest, the Home Secretary privately asked Dame Cressida and her team if a police officer could be involved but was not told whether her suspicions were correct.

A source close to Ms Patel said the prospect of a policeman being responsible felt likely because Covid restrictions meant there were very few other people on the streets. The source said: ‘We asked the question.’

The Home Office is also understood to be annoyed that last week the Met chief announced a review in the force’s professional standards and internal culture 24 hours before Ms Patel announced a Government inquiry.

Ms Patel is said to be determined to watch Dame Cressida ‘very closely’ over the vetting of officers in light of Ms Everard’s murder.

‘People are prepared to put their political capital behind this, and the home secretary is among those very much behind it.’ 

Another reportedly added: ‘Make no mistake, Boris Johnson is the person blocking and holding this back. He seems to be stuck in the past on this issue.’ 

It comes after Ms Patel launched a consultation on tackling violence against women and girls.

The petition is said to have drawn 180,000 contributors – most of which are though to have been sent after Ms Everard’s murder in March.

Many respondents said they suffered harassment on a daily basis, while a YouGov poll earlier this year revealed that more than half of women said they had suffered sexual harassment on public transport in London.  

Earlier this week the Prime Minister vowed to make domestic violence and rape the ‘number one issue’ he tackles within policing.

He said the way police and criminal justice system currently handles violent crimes against women was ‘just not working’.  

But asked if he believed misogyny should be a hate crime, Mr Johnson told BBC Breakfast: ‘I think that what we should do is prosecute people for the crimes we have on the statute book.

‘That is what I am focused on. To be perfectly honest, if you widen the scope of what you ask the police to do, you will just increase the problem.

‘What you need to do is get the police to focus on the very real crimes, the very real feeling of injustice and betrayal that many people feel.’

Despite Mr Johnson’s comments, Home Office officials are understood to be conducting a legal review into making public sexual harassment a crime in its own right, according to the Guardian.

It is believed such a law would cover all behaviour that could make women uncomfortable in all public spaces. 

The issue of crimes against women has come under fierce scrutiny since Ms Everard’s kidnap, rape and murder by serving Metropolitan police officer Wayne Couzens. 

Couzens used his Metropolitan Police warrant card and handcuffs to abduct the 33-year-old marketing executive as she walked home from a friend’s house in Clapham.   

He was sentenced to a whole life order earlier this month after admitting raping and killing Ms Everard.

Commissioner Cressida Dick has faced calls to resign amid the fallout from the case, while Ms Patel has come under pressure to tackle violence against women.


Couzens (left) used his Metropolitan Police warrant card and handcuffs to abduct the 33-year-old marketing executive as she walked home from a friend’s house in Clapham. He was sentenced to a whole life order earlier this month after admitting raping and killing Ms Everard. Commissioner Cressida Dick (right) has faced calls to resign amid the fallout from the case, while Ms Patel has come under pressure to tackle violence against women

She is said to have backed a new emergency number aiming to help protect lone women. 

The ‘walk me home service’ is being developed and could be ready by Christmas.

It would allow the vulnerable to have their journeys tracked, triggering an alert if they failed to reach home in time.

Women could also use the mobile app – potentially with the number 888 – to summon police if they felt threatened. 

Ms Patel has approved the proposal submitted earlier this week by BT, which has run the 999 service for 84 years. 

In a letter to the Home Secretary, chief executive Philip Jansen said technology should be used to tackle male violence.

He said it might cost as little as £50million and could be up and running by Christmas.

Ms Patel said last night: ‘This new phone line is exactly the kind of innovative scheme which would be good to get going as soon as we can. I’m now looking at it with my team and liaising with BT.’

A Home Office spokesperson told MailOnline: ‘Our recently published Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy sets out that there are a number of offences in place which already capture street harassment.

‘We are committed to ensuring that these laws work in practice. That is why, through new funding to tackle violence against women and girls, we will deepen our understanding of who commits these crimes, why they do so, and how this behaviour may escalate.’

Wayne Couzens ‘molested drag queen at bar near his home and said “I’m an officer” as he demanded dark alley sex’ three years before raping and murdering Sarah Everard 

By Kate Dennett for MailOnline

Wayne Couzens, the police officer who has been handed a life sentence Sarah Everard, is reportedly facing a new probe over allegedly sexually assaulting a drag queen.

Couzens, 48, allegedly molested a drag artist while he was in costume at the New Inn pub in Deal, Kent, in 2018, before propositioning him to have sex.

The performer claimed that Couzens told him that he was a police officer when he told the father-of-two to stop touching him, the Mirror reported.

A slew of claims have come to light about the Metropolitan Police officer since he was jailed for his life with no chance of parole after he kidnapped, raped and murdered Sarah Everard while she was walking home.

Couzens is known to have committed an indecent exposure, driving round naked from the waist down in his car, when he served with them in 2015.

He has also been identified as being responsible for carrying out the same offence at a McDonald’s restaurant days before he targeted Ms Everard, 33, while she walked home from her friend’s house in Clapham, south London.

On March 3, he staged a fake Covid arrest, handcuffed Ms Everard and put her in his car before driving 80 miles to Kent where he raped and murdered her. Days later, he burned her body and left it in woods near land he owned. 

Now, a drag queen has reportedly accused Couzens of molesting him while he was standing at a bar in costume.

The unnamed performer is believed to have said that he did not go to the police before seeing the news about Couzens’ jail term, as he did not think his claims would be taken seriously.

But the alleged victim said that he recognised Couzens ‘right away’ after seeing him on the TV and told his partner ‘that’s him’.

The drag artist reportedly said he had gone to the New Inn pub, which is close to Couzen’s Kent house, to watch a band when Couzens inappropriately touched his backside at the bar. 

The drag artist reportedly said he had gone to the New Inn pub (pictured), which is close to Couzen’s Kent house, to watch a band when Couzens inappropriately touched his backside

He told Sunday’s People: ‘Then he [Couzens] went round to my groin and I went, ‘Oi, stop that. My partner’s over there.’ He went ‘Do you know who I am?’ and I went, ‘Do you know who I f***ing am?’

He alleged that he told Couzens his stage name, to which he replied that he was a police officer, and the unnamed drag queen told him again not to touch him.

The performer alleged that Couzens then asked him to go around the back of the pub where it was ‘dark’ to give him a ‘b***job’, after which the artist told him to ‘p*** off’ and walked back to his table and told his partner what allegedly happened.

He said he has not told any of his friends about the alleged incident as he is ’embarrassed’, and claimed that he is now too afraid to go to a bar or ‘wander’ off by himself after the alleged assault. 

Speaking about recognising Couzens, he said: ‘Can you imagine if I went down that alley? My partner has said to me, ‘You could have been stabbed in the alley and left somewhere else’.’

He reportedly made a formal victim statement on Tuesday naming police officer Couzens as the alleged attacker.

MailOnline has contacted the Metropolitan Police for comment. 

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