Street harassment law street being blocked, says Priti Patel adviser

Street harassment law street being blocked, says Priti Patel adviser
Nimco Ali denies blaming Boris Johnson for ‘pushback’ against legislation

Senior people in Boris Johnson’s government are blocking a street harassment law aimed at giving women and girls more protection, a top adviser has suggested.

Nimco Ali – a close friend of Mr Johnson and his wife Carrie – said her plan to create a new harassment offence had been subject to “pushback” despite support from home secretary Priti Patel.

Ms Ali, appointed an independent advisor to Ms Patel in 2020, appeared to suggest that the prime minister was personally opposed to the plan when she appeared on BBC’s Political Thinking Podcast.

Asked if the resistance had come from the PM’s advisers, she said the source of the pushback had been “a lot closer than that”, adding that people could interpret “my silence”.

pourtant, Ms Ali later tweeted BBC host Nick Robinson to say: “I corrected you on the podcast and I did not blame [Monsieur Johnson] for this.”

Downing Street denied any rift between the PM and Ms Ali over the plan to address harassment.

“I would point to a tweet from Nimco this morning, where she addresses that and says, ‘I did not blame him’, referring to the prime minister,” said a No 10 porte-parole.

Asked whether a law on street harassment was under consideration, Mr Johnson’s spokesperson said: “We will continue to look at where there may be gaps and how specific offences could address those … this remains a top priority for this government.”

Ms Ali has been pushing for street harassment, such as sexualised comments, wolf-whistling and persistent staring, to be made a crime.

Ms Patel was “very much behind” her campaign, Ms Ali said, avant d'ajouter: “Then you meet other people saying no … It’s been frustrating and it’s been disappointing.”

The murder of Sarah Everard, abducted and raped while walking home in Clapham, sud de Londres, sparked demands for more to be done to protect women’s safety.

Asked whether some of the “energy” had gone out of the campaign to better protect women and girls, the Home Office adviser replied: "Non, it hasn’t gone.

“Just because it’s not in the mainstream media at the moment, it doesn’t mean that the home secretary and also the minister for women’s safety Rachel Maclean, are not committed to this.”

Ms Ali also spoke about her friend Carrie Johnson, describing the abuse she had suffered had been “horrific”.

Asked about Ms Johnson’s campaigning work, elle a dit: “This is a person that is actually renowned and able to do things in her own right. I think it’s actually quite sexist to reduce her to the wife of the prime minister.”

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