Edwina Currie, former Conservative minister, dismissed the sexual harassment scandal embroiling Westminster as "hysteria" during BBC's This Week Thursday (2 November) night.

The remarks come two days after Currie claimed that making a pass at someone cannot be "banned" from the workplace. The former minister called the allegations in the ever growing scandal as "trivial," and suggested they could be a result of "misunderstanding," The Telegraph reported.

"The workplace these days is where people meet, where many romances and liaisons develop. You can't ban it from the workplace," she said.

"Someone making a pass at you is not necessarily a power play. It might just be that they like you, and they would like to know if you would like to have a meal with them, they would like to know if you might be open to something more."

Currie added: "It happened to me and it was very, very welcome."

In the 1980s, Currie and the former prime minister, John Major, had a four-year affair while they were both MPs and married to other people, The Telegraph noted.

Currie's comments were met with anger and annoyance, with many bringing up her affair with Major and pointing out that she enabled Jimmy Saville to gain access to Broadmoor hospital, where it later emerged he had been sexually abusing vulnerable patients.

NHS inquiry found that a senior civil servant, Cliff Graham, appointed Saville to the managerial role, and Currie retrospectively rubber-stamped the decision, The Guardian reports.

Westminster has been hit by massive sexual harassment allegations, with more than 40 MPs being named in a so-called "dirty dossier". The list, compiled by Tory aides, names seven Cabinet ministers, eight former ministers, and 15 other members of government.