A Labour MP and ally of opposition party leader Jeremy Corbyn was able to stand for re-election despite being investigated by police over an allegation of sexual assault after a “nightclub grope”, The Mail on Sunday reports.
In an alleged incident in a city centre nightclub that took place months before the General Election, the MP is said to have touched someone’s bottom while on the dance floor.
According to the outlet, the police involved have confirmed they were “investigating an allegation of sexual touching which is reported to have taken place” in July.
The MP, whose name is concealed for legal reasons, has strongly denied the allegation against him as “wrong and false”.
“Reeked of Double Standards”
Amidst the current reports, Labour Party bosses are facing demands to explain why the unnamed MP was allowed to stand for re-election when fellow Labour MP Stephen Hepburn was barred from doing so over a sexual harassment claim which he also denied.
An investigation was reopened into Stephen Hepburn, the representative for Jarrow, regarding an alleged sexual harassment incident 14 years ago.
The accusations were in relations to claims of inappropriate behaviour towards a female party member in 2005, with the investigation initially dropped but reopened after a colleague submitted new evidence on the case.
The MP giving evidence claimed to recall the incident, which allegedly took place at a curry restaurant, “quite vividly, because it was so unpleasant” where Hepburn was refusing to allow the woman "freedom of movement” and acted inappropriately.
Hepburn has since spoken of his treatment by Labour officials as a “stitch-up”.
Incidentally, he was replaced as Jarrow MP by Kate Osborne, who similarly stirred up a scandal after sharing an image on social media during the 2017 general election campaign which appeared to show Theresa May with a gun to her head.
Party sources, reports the publication, insisted on Saturday night that the two cases were different, privately saying that the allegation against the unnamed MP was “less serious” than those faced by Hepburn.
Moreover, since the complaint against the MP had been made to the police, the party could not intervene, they added.
Regarding the election, sources were cited as pointing out that the unnamed MP had not been suspended, enabling them to stand as a Labour candidate, while in Hepburn’s case he had already been suspended from the party pending an inquiry, and as such “could not stand in the election”.
In an official statement, a Labour spokesman said:
“We take all complaints extremely seriously. They are investigated and any appropriate disciplinary action taken in line with the party’s rules and procedures. We can’t comment on individual complaints.”
However, other MPs responded to the report by slamming Labour officials, condemning the affair that “reeked of double standards”.