James Cleverly, the British home secretary, came under criticism on Sunday for making light of date rape, which he had described as a “perverse” crime, only hours before declaring his intentions to clamp down on the crime.
At an event at the prime minister’s residence, Cleverly allegedly joked about drugging his wife, leading to calls for him to resign as head of national security and law enforcement in England and Wales.
Cleverly said, not so cleverly, that having a spouse who is constantly moderately drugged so she may never understand there are better guys out there was his key to a long marriage. He said this to the ladies who attended a reception on December 18.
Using the so-called date rape drug Rohypnol “in her drink every night” was “not criminal if it’s just a small amount,” according to Cleverly.
The substance, which is nicknamed a “roofie” when secretly mixed into someone’s drink, causes drowsiness and, in extreme cases, loss of consciousness and memory.
In a statement, Cleverly expressed regret for what he termed an “ironic joke” after his announcement that the Conservative administration would be explicitly updating laws to prohibit drink doping.
During the event at 10 Downing Street, political journalists, advisers, ministers, and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak mixed and mingled.
The comments have been denounced by Women’s Aid, which also emphasized the importance of ministers taking the issue seriously and not diminishing the hardships many women endure.
The head of the women’s rights organization the Fawcett Society, Jemima Olchawski, criticized the comments as “sickening” and demanded that Cleverly step down from his position.
The 54-year-old Cleverly has two children from a previous relationship and has said ending violence against women and girls is a “personal concern.”
According to a survey from the Home Office, there are 561 spike complaints received by the police in England and Wales per month. Most of these reports are made by women who report occurrences to nightclubs and pubs.