THE vice chancellor of the University of Bolton today condemned alleged behaviour of sexual misconduct at a controversial men-only Presidents Club charity dinner he attended.

Professor George Holmes confirmed that he was a guest for the evening at The Dorchester Hotel in London.

But he said that he had seen none of the incidents alleged and said he had been 'appalled' at reports that young hostesses — some of them students — had been groped by some of the 360 men who were guests.

It has emerged that a journalist hired by the Financial Times had gone undercover as a hostess at the event on January 18, which raised around £2m for various charities.

She claimed that some of the guests present at the event had groped the girls and made unwanted sexual advances.

Prof Holmes said he had seen no inappropriate behaviour and had not attended an ‘after party’ following the dinner, but that he had felt 'uncomfortable' with the number of young hostesses present.

He said: “At the university we have a zero tolerance policy on the kind of behaviour being alleged.

“Any behaviour of that nature, if indeed it did happen, would be totally condemned by me.

“It is abhorrent and unacceptable. I have three daughters between the ages of 19 and 23 and I would be appalled if they were treated in the way that is being alleged.”

The university confirmed that Prof Holmes had attended as a guest and that it was his first time at the event, which has been running for more than 30 years.

He is not a member of The Presidents Club.

A spokesman for the university said: “His attendance was on the basis of an invited guest to a charity fundraising dinner. More specifically, he was a guest of one of the university's key business sponsors who hosted and paid for the table.”

Prof Holmes has confirmed that he was approached while dining and served drinks by several hostess staff allocated to his area of the dining room.

He said that he has since recognised one of the staff who spoke to him as undercover reporter Madison Marriage.

Prof Holmes says that he recalled expressing at the time to her that both personally and in the current context of the Harvey Weinstein allegations, he was uncomfortable with the unexpected influx of hostess staff and certain auction lots.

The spokesman said that the undercover reporter had confirmed subsequently to a fellow journalists that Prof Holmes 'looked pretty shocked'.

Prof Holmes added that another member of the hostess staff also served him a drink whilst he was dining.

He had asked her what she thought of the event and she also indicated that she was uneasy.

She said that she was particularly nervous about descriptions she had been given of the ‘after party’, which she had heard from other hostess staff who had worked at the event in previous years.

Prof Holmes said that, as a result, he sought out one of the event staff team leaders and expressed his concern that some of her staff were uncomfortable.

He said that he chose to leave the event as soon as was politely possible at the end of the charity auction after networking with 'a number of key influential individuals', required of him when attending public events.

The university spokesman added: “Professor Holmes has confirmed that he did not and, more importantly chose not to, participate in the post dinner ‘after party’ which he had been unaware of when he accepted the invitation to the black tie dinner. He returned to his family who were with him in London.”

Bolton broadcaster Vernon Kay was also named as being on the guestlist for the event, but a spokesman for the TV presenter said that he did not attend.