A row broke out on Friday last week after Fredrik Reinfeldt’s closest aide, State Secretary Ulrica Schenström, was photographed apparently kissing a journalist in a Stockholm bar. The journalist, TV4’s Anders Pihlblad later stated that Schenström was “clearly under the influence”.
The photos of Schenström and TV4’s political reporter Anders Pihlblad show them embracing at a restaurant table. Some have interpreted the images as showing an intimate embrace – something Schenström and Pihlblad both deny.
The Prime Minister has defended his aide, saying that she had not had so much to drink that it affected her ability to do her job. But it is not yet known whether Schenström was on call in case of an emergency on the evening in question, an issue that has become central to the debate.
“Fredrik Reinfeldt’s handling of the crisis does not inspire trust. The Prime Minister has so far not impressed. This is not good enough!” said Sahlin in a statement.
“As Prime Minister, he has to take seriously the uncertainties surrounding his State Secretary’s responsibility and behaviour. He also needs to clear up the issue of whether or not she was on call and take clear steps to build back up the trust that has been lost,” said Sahlin.
TV4 said it had contacted the bar to find out how much alcohol had been consumed by Schenström and Pihlblad and would release the information when it became available.