Sunak Declares Closure on Cleverly's Date Rape Joke Matter, No. 10 Affirms
Sunak Declares Closure on Cl...
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Sunak Declares Closure on Cleverly's Date Rape Joke Matter, No. 10 Affirms

27 December 2023
2 min.
Sunak Declares Closure on Cleverly's Date Rape Joke Matter, No. 10 Affirms

Spiking, Sexism, and a Minister's Misstep

Home Secretary James Cleverly faced backlash for joking about spiking his wife's drink with a date rape drug at a Downing Street event. The remarks, reported by the Sunday Mirror, sparked outrage and calls for action from women's rights groups and political figures.

Government Responses

Both Downing Street and a spokesperson for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak have issued statements addressing the matter. The Prime Minister considers the issue closed, emphasizing the government's recent actions in combating spiking incidents. However, when questioned about whether Sunak has communicated with Cleverly since the event, clarity on the matter remains elusive.

Details of Cleverly's Comments

At a No 10 event before Christmas, Cleverly faced backlash for reportedly suggesting that a lasting marriage involves a spouse who is "always mildly sedated." Despite apologies, the comments sparked strong criticism from women's rights advocates, such as the Fawcett Society and Gina Miller.

Calls for Resignation

The Fawcett Society characterized Cleverly's comments as "sickening" and called for his resignation, a sentiment echoed by anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller, who shared her own experience of being drugged in a previous abusive relationship. Miller stressed the importance of men being allies in ending such behavior rather than making light of it.

Government's Stance and Actions

Government addresses spiking concerns post-Cleverly's apology. No specific spiking offense, but commitment to legislative measures, including language modernization, for a broader crackdown.


From May 2022 to April 2023, England and Wales saw 6,732 reported spiking incidents, including 957 needle spiking cases near bars and nightclubs. Home Office reports highlight this concerning trend, averaging 561 monthly incidents.

Previous Incidents Involving Cleverly

This controversy is not the first time Cleverly has faced criticism since assuming the role of Home Secretary just over six weeks ago. Past incidents include a public apology for swearing in Parliament and allegations of using colorful language in discussing political matters.

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