Labour MP Debbie Abrahams has accused her party of “bullying” after being forced out of the party’s Shadow Cabinet as it investigates a “workplace issue”.
It is understood the move follows a number of complaints against the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, with the “no prejudice investigation” being handled by the party rather than the whips office.
But Abrahams dismissed the allegations as “spurious” and made clear she had not agreed to step down.
The MP went on to attack unnamed “individuals” serving in Jeremy Corbyn’s office as “aggressive, intimidating and wholly unprofessional”.
In an extraordinary statement, Abrahams said: “I refute the allegations that have been made against me in the strongest possible terms.
“I will fight this spurious claim and do not rule out taking legal action.
“I have had no details about the complaint, who it is from, the process or timescales. I have not agreed to stand aside.
“My treatment by certain individuals in the Leader’s Office over the last 10 months has been aggressive, intimidating and wholly unprofessional.
“My treatment in the last week has shown a bullying culture of the worst kind.
“As such I am making a formal complaint to both the Labour Party and Parliamentary Authorities.”
Abrahams first entered Parliament in 2010, winning the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election after the election of Labour MP Phil Woolas was ruled void over false statements he made about a rival candidate.
She was made shadow minister for the disabled by Jeremy Corbyn in 2015 and was promoted to the shadow cabinet after last year’s general election.
A Labour spokesperson said: “Debbie Abrahams has stood aside from her frontbench role while the Labour Party investigates an employment issue.
“Margaret Greenwood will act up as Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions during this period.”
Elected for the first time in Wirral West in 2015, Greenwood has been Labour’s shadow employment minister for the last 18 months.
Newsnight last week revealed the results of its investigation into bullying in the Commons, in which a former member of Speaker John Bercow’s staff claimed she was left with PTSD.
The BBC2 programme reported that Labour MP Paul Farrelly and Tory MP Mark Pritchard had also been accused of bullying.
Bercow completely denied any wrongdoing and a Commons spokesperson refuted the suggestion that workers were experiencing “a culture of fear”.
Theresa May said she was “concerned” by the reports and called for all allegations to be thoroughly investigated.