Senior Labour aide ‘found to have groped intern’ has left job, party says
A senior Labour aide who was able to reportedly keep his job after being found to have groped an intern 20 years his junior has left his position, the party has said.
The Labour hierarchy faced a backlash after reports emerged claiming that a senior party official had been allowed to remain in his post despite two separate investigations upholding an allegation of sexual harassment against him.
Party backbenchers had called the response “pathetic”, while a shadow minister said no Labour employee should be allowed to keep their job following allegations of such a nature.
Labour has now said that the aide in question has left his post since the reviews into his alleged behaviour took place.
A party spokesman said: “Two separate investigations were carried out, one at Parliament the other via the Labour Party, into the same complaint received about an individual.
“He fully complied with the processes of both of those investigations and the remedial action recommended.
“This individual has now left his position.”
According to the news website Politico, two investigations, one conducted through an internal parliamentary process and another by an independent party probe, upheld the sexual harassment allegation, but the man was permitted to remain in his role.
The parliamentary inquiry saw the aide told to write a letter of apology and no further action was taken.
Separately, the party said, following a review which is said to have taken three years to complete, that he would be handed a “final warning”.
Labour defended its independent process on Wednesday when asked by reporters after Prime Minister’s Questions.
A party spokesman said leader Sir Keir Starmer continued to have confidence in the process, which the official described as “robust” and following “best practice”.
But Labour MPs put pressure on the party hierarchy to intervene following the decision to reportedly accept the independent review’s decision not to sack the aide.
The party’s complaints procedure involves an outside group of experts reviewing allegations of potential misdemeanours, who then rule on what the sanction should be.
Labour said it had “accepted and followed” the recommendations made by the independent panel in the case reported by Politico.
But after the news broke on Wednesday, Canterbury MP Rosie Duffield tweeted that the decision was “not OK” while fellow Opposition backbencher Charlotte Nichols called it “pathetic” on social media.
Shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds, asked by Times Radio on Thursday whether an aide should lose their job if found to have groped a colleague, said: “I don’t think anyone who behaves that way should continue in employment in any circumstance.”
Safeguarding minister Sarah Dines said she was “very disappointed” to hear that a Labour investigation into groping claims had reportedly taken three years to complete, saying it had gone on “too long”.
Speaking to LBC, she also criticised Sir Keir’s leadership on the issue, saying the former director of public prosecutions should have been “a bit more hands-on to root out this sort of behaviour”.