James Cleverly joked about spiking wife’s drink with date rape drug

Home Secretary James Cleverly made inappropriate comments just hours after the government announced plans to clamp down on spiking (Picture: PA)

Home Secretary James Cleverly made inappropriate comments just hours after the government announced plans to clamp down on spiking (Picture: PA)

Home secretary James Cleverly made a joke about spiking his wife’s drink with a date rape drug.

His inappropriate remarks came just hours after the government announced plans to crack down on spiking.

Mr Cleverly told guests at a Downing Street reception that putting ‘a little bit of Rohypnol in her drink every night’ was ‘not really illegal if it’s only a little bit’.

The 54-year-old also laughed that the secret to a long marriage was ensuring your spouse was ‘someone who is always mildly sedated so she can never realise there are better men out there’.

His comments came in extremely bad taste off the back of a spate of drink and needle spiking incidents in the UK this year.

He met his wife Susie at university and the couple have two children together, reports the Sunday Mirror.

Conversations at Downing Street receptions are usually understood to be ‘off the record’ but the Sunday Mirror decided to break that convention because of Mr Cleverly’s position and the subject matter.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Wiktor Szymanowicz/Shutterstock (14264302n) Secretary  of State for the Home Department James Cleverly arrives in Downing Street to attend the weekly Cabinet meeting. Cabinet Meeting in Downing Street, London, UK - 19 Dec 2023

Mr Cleverly said ‘a little bit of Rohypnol in her drink every night’ was ‘not really illegal if it’s only a little bit’ (Picture: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Shutterstock)

Allies of Mr Cleverly said his comments were made in a private setting but he recognises they were inappropriate.

Mr Cleverly has previously described tackling violence against women and girls as a ‘personal priority’ and called spiking a ‘perverse’ crime.

A spokesman for the Home Secretary said: ‘In what was always understood as a private conversation, James, the Home Secretary, tackling spiking made what was clearly meant to be an ironic joke – for which he apologises.’

Senior Labour figures criticised Mr Cleverly’s ‘appalling’ comments.

Alex Davies-Jones, shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding, said: ”It was a joke’ is the most tired excuse in the book and no one is buying it.

‘If the Home Secretary is serious about tackling spiking, and violence against women and girls, then that requires a full cultural change. The “banter” needs to stop and it has to start at the top.’

Home Secretary James Cleverly during a visit to see the Project Servator deployment in action around the festive market in Trafalgar Square, central London. Servator is a police operation delivered in public spaces to protect the public from terrorism and other crimes. Picture date: Tuesday December 19, 2023. PA Photo. Photo credit should read: Jordan Pettitt/PA Wire

A spokesman for the home secretary said it was just an ‘ironic joke’ and that he has apologised (Picture: PA)

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said: ‘Spiking is a disturbing and serious crime which is having a devastating impact on young women’s lives.

‘It is truly unbelievable that the Home Secretary made such appalling jokes on the very same day the Government announced new policy on spiking.

‘It suggests that despite being the Cabinet minister ultimately responsible for tackling violence against women and girls he doesn’t get how serious this is.

‘Victims will understandably be questioning if they can trust him to take this vile crime seriously.’

There has been a spate of spiking incidents over the course of the last year in the UK (Picture: Getty Images)

There has been a spate of spiking incidents over the course of the last year in the UK (Picture: Getty Images)

Ministers have pledged to modernise the language used in legislation to make clear spiking is a crime and announced a series of other measures as part of a crackdown.

But they stopped short of making spiking – when someone puts drugs into another’s drink or directly into their body without their knowledge or consent – a specific offence.

Between May 2022 and April 2023, there were 6,732 reports of spiking in England and Wales – including 957 reported incidents of needle spiking.

On average police receive 561 reports of spiking a month, with the majority being made by women typically after incidents in or near bars and nightclubs, according to a Home Office report.

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