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  1. ITV Report

Penny Mordaunt confronted by protester while speaking at aid conference

Penny Mordaunt was interrupted by a charity whistleblower during a speech as she launched a global sex offender register aimed at rooting out sexual predators working in the aid sector.

Alexia Pepper de Caires - a former Save the Children employee and whistleblower - confronted the International Development Secretary on stage claiming those who were speaking out against abuse in the sector were being silenced.

"A number of us would like to be on this platform but we have been kept back by a number of attempts by DFID (Department for International Development) and your attempts to control the women who are speaking out in this sector," she said.

The delivery of aid to people and communities in crisis has been subverted by sexual predators Credit: PA

The co-founder of NGO Safe Space went on: "I was disgusted to learn on my way hear to this mornings summit that Save the Children will be awarded a headline project to try and tackle sexual misconduct in this sector when they are still under investigation by the Charity Commission themselves."

Whistleblower Alexia Pepper de Caires had previously raised doubts over the summit. Credit: ITV News

The charity worker told the MP for Portsmouth North she was "compelled" to take to the stage and speak to her in person after the time for questions in a previous panel Mordaunt was at had been cut short.

"This platform is, I'm afraid, not for you today but actually for people who have been doing this work.

"I am angry enough to be here, I have left the sector, there is nothing in this about fame or fortune because this is about giving truth to power and I do not feel I have seen anything with what you have been coming out with in your precooked summit solutions to tackle that," she said.

Mordaunt said the summit was just the beginning. Credit: Pool

Ms Mordaunt, who calmly listened to her, said she had been unaware of the concerns she raised, and offered to give up her second speaking slot at the end of the conference so she and her colleagues could address it.

Ms Pepper de Caires – who drew applause from the international audience at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London – was finally led from the stage by officials without further protest.

Afterwards she told the ITV News: "I felt compelled to after seeing the disappointment and anger vocalised by women around the sector about why they were not feeling included in in this conference and what the outcomes were going to be.

"I interrupted her politely at a good point in her conversation, having made clear there would be no time for questions an answers that does not feel like an open and transparent process to me.

"A global register of baddies is very easy to talk about as if it's going to fix a systemic problem of racism and sexism in this sector and it is not good enough.

"It is part of the problem but but does not need to come as the shiny new approach, which is going to solve everything."

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Ms Mordaunt said she was "very sorry" that some people had felt excluded from the event.

"The only thing I could do today to rectify that – because I think it is important that their voices are heard – is to give them a platform," she told reporters.

"I personally didn’t know of their concern until today. We will do everything we can to ensure that people are able to speak up, they are able to articulate their concerns."

She said that Save the Children had not received any Government funding in relation to the new global register, being established by the Department for International Development and Interpol, announced earlier this week.

"It is not the case that Save are getting funding from us," she said.