You can't ban making a pass at someone from workplace - Edwina Currie

Edwina Currie, junior health minister in the 80s
Edwina Currie, junior health minister in the 80s

A former Conservative junior minister has said people need to learn how to reject advances at work "without upsetting people".

AEdwina Currie, junior health minister in the 80s, said the sexual harassment allegations surfacing at Westminster and Holyrood were based on "flimsy" evidence.

She told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme: "Most politicians, most of the time are just concentrating on their job and the evidence, such as it is, is not only quite flimsy but also it goes back a long, long time."

She said it should be acceptable for people to "make a pass" at work and people had to learn how to deal with it appropriately, adding: "This is an attempt to shame all sorts of people who have done absolutely nothing wrong."

"The workplace, these days, is where people meet. It's where many romances and liaisons get developed. You can't ban it from the workplace.

"You have to learn the language of making the approach and you have to learn the language of repelling it without upsetting people and without creating an atmosphere."

She added: "When you have people who are in a position of power...then you are in a completely different situation, especially when you a very big gap in the ability of the individuals to control the situation.

"We're talking about something much more trivial here, which can sometimes be a misunderstanding. It can sometimes just be someone making a pass at someone."

She added: "We're not in Victorian times, we're not weak little victims. If anyone had ever tried anything on, whether it was in the House of Commons or anywhere else, and they were being persistent and a pest I would have made it quite clear to him he would leave bent double."