Labour candidate in key general election seat suspended by the party
A Labour candidate in a key election battleground has been suspended by the party.
Steven Saxby had been expected to stand in the Tory-held Cities of London and Westminster.
Conservative MP Mark Field has held the seat since 2001, and retained it at the 2017 election after seeing off the challenge of Labour's İbrahim Doğuş with a majority of 3,148.
It is also being heavily targeted by the Lib Dems, whose candidate at the next election will be former Labour MP Chuka Umunna.
The decision to suspend Mr Saxby was taken by Labour officials on Friday night and is thought to related to an accusation of sexual harassment.
In a statement, Mr Saxby told LabourList: "A complaint has been made against me, which I strongly refute. I believe all complaints must be investigated properly.
"I am hoping for a speedy outcome of the complaint process and for the suspension from the Labour party to be lifted as soon as possible so that I can get back to campaigning."
A Labour spokesperson said: "The Labour party takes all complaints extremely seriously, which are investigated and any appropriate disciplinary action taken in line with the party’s rules and procedures. We can’t comment on individual cases."
It is understood that Mr Saxby’s case has been referred to the party's National Constitutional Committee and that he has been suspended pending that process.
The case was heard by the same panel that suspended Jas Athwal, who was in the running to be Labour's candidate in Ilford South. That prompted an angry backlash from his supporters.