POLITICS

LabourToo Sexual Harassment Probe To Report Findings To New Victim Support QC

Karon Monaghan will look into handling of rape allegation made by activist Bex Bailey.

06/11/2017 14:13 GMT
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An independent probe into sexual harassment set up by Labour members will now report its findings to a specially -appointed barrister.

The LabourToo campaign, which has been collating anonymous experiences in the wake of the Westminster sex pest allegations, had initially planned to present its findings in a report to the party’s headquarters next month.

But following Labour’s announcement it has appointed independent legal expert Karon Monaghan too look into the handling of a rape allegation made by activist Bex Bailey, a LabourToo spokesperson said it would now pass its information to her. 

Bailey, a former member of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee, came forward last week to say she was raped at a party event in 2011, when she was 19, and was discouraged from reporting the incident by a senior official.

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Activist Bex Bailey said she was raped in 2011.

“We welcome the appointment of Karon Monaghan to look into Bex Bailey’s case and also the complaints process more widely,” the spokesperson added.

“We will now be passing our final report to her to aid her investigation.”

Monaghan, a QC from the chambers set up by Cherie Booth, will produce a report on the incident for general secretary Iain McNicol and will also make recommendations on how procedures could be improved.

Labour announced on Friday it plans to appoint an independent specialist organisation to offer confidential advice and support to anyone affected by sexual harassment in the party.

The external body will offer “an additional first step” for reporting complaints and will oversee formal training and advice for staff, NEC members and any others dealing with such cases.

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn wants MPs to be given additional training.

Jeremy Corbyn, along with other Westminster party leaders, was due to meet Theresa May on Monday to discuss how best to tackle a “disturbing” culture of sexual harassment within Parliament. 

Corbyn said his party believes it is necessary to introduce a minimum standard training programme for MPs after each general election in best practice employment standards and management of their parliamentary offices.

But Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas, who wants all MPs to be sent for consent lessons, said Labour’s proposals did not go far enough.

“I’m pleased that the leader of the opposition is joining me in calling for MPs to receive training in employment standards,” she added.

“His proposals are step forward, but don’t go far enough because they mean waiting for a general election to start this training when it really should begin immediately. This kind of consent and employment training should be compulsory - and it should start now. 

“Today I’ll be urging the prime minister to introduce consent lessons, look at reforming employment structures so that MPs are no longer employers, bring in a code of conduct for MPs and resource parties to help them have more robust and independent legal and human resource capacity. We also need a robust independent grievance and complaints process here in Parliament.”

The PM has promised to act “decisively” to tackle the issue.