MP Nadhim Zahawi Is Given A 'Dressing Down' For Attending The Men-Only Presidents Club Event

A Downing Street source said the prime minister was 'appalled' after reading reports on the scandal-hit dinner.

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Government minister Nadhim Zahawi is facing increased pressure over why he attended a men-only charity dinner that has been rocked by a sexual harassment scandal.

The men-only event at London's Dorchester Hotel, which was held to raise money for charities, featured some 100 female hostesses, including two undercover Financial Times reporters. The journalists described harassment, lewd comments and 'repeated requests to join diners in bedrooms'.

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The story sparked outrage from senior politicians and one of the club's three trustees, David Meller, has resigned as an adviser to Britain's Department for Education.

Zahawi, the children and families minister, confirmed on Twitter that he went to last week's event, but left early as he felt 'uncomfortable'.

In a separate tweet, Zahawi wrote: 'I do unequivocally condemn this behaviour. The report is truly shocking. I will never attend a men only function ever.'

Since admitting his attendance, has was called to Downing Street on Wednesday for a 'dressing down' from chief whip Julian Smith, ITV News reports.

Other government members have also expressed their outrage over the dinner. Maria Miller, Tory chair of the Commons' select committee for women and equalities, told ITV's Good Morning Britain: 'No government minister should be going to an event where women are only there as the entertainment, that's not acceptable. There are questions about why Nadhim had accepted this invitation.'

Miller tweeted she hopes 'every man who attended this event will think twice before accepting another invitation to a "men only" event with more than 100 female hostesses'.

A Downing Street source told the BBC the prime minister was 'appalled' after reading reports of the dinner. Theresa May is now targeting gagging orders which prevented hostesses at the Presidents Club from speaking out, according to The Times.

The Presidents Club dinner is an annual event for a group that claims it has raised around £20 million for children's charities over the past 33 years. Great Ormond Street Hospital and Evelina London Children's Hospital said they would return previous donations and sever ties with the Presidents Club.

In a statement, the Charity Commission has said it is assessing the allegations 'as a matter of urgency'.

Additional reporting from Associated Press.

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