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Sunday, June 09, 2019

Labour's patchy record on dealing with bullying and harrassment

It is becoming impossible to do otherwise than conclude that Labour's approach to disciplining its members is haphazard at best, discriminatory at worse. The latest incarnation of this hit and miss policy has been exposed in today's Sunday Times.

They report that Jeremy Corbyn has been plunged into a new scandal over his party’s handling of bullying and harassment after it emerged that his most senior aide dismissed an investigation into a close ally accused of inappropriate conduct around young women.

They say that Karie Murphy, the Labour leader’s chief of staff, operated outside formal procedures and said that she would instead “have a word” with Peter Willsman, a veteran activist and friend of Corbyn:

Willsman, 75, was subject to a formal complaint by a young staffer who alleged he asked where she lived, whether she liked clubbing — and sent texts saying he was in his pyjamas. He “refused” to leave her alone. She received no response to her complaint.

In a further blow, it can also be revealed that Labour gagged a young female staff member after she accused a shadow cabinet minister of bullying.

Last year party headquarters negotiated a non-disclosure agreement with a woman in her twenties who said the MP, a senior ally of Corbyn’s, treated her poorly.

They add that separately, Corbyn is under growing pressure to suspend Lisa Forbes, the newly elected Peterborough MP, who “liked” a post saying that Theresa May had a “Zionist slave masters agenda”.

Details of Willsman's case comes a week after Murphy was revealed to have blocked a decision to suspend the membership of David Prescott, a Corbyn aide accused of sexual misconduct in 2017. He denies the allegations.

Who knows how differently events might have turned out if the same approach had been taken with former Welsh Government Minister, Carl Sargeant
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