Labour to set up independent probes into sexual harassment cases after outcry

Posted On: 
19th September 2018

Independent observers are to be given a say during investigations into sexual harassment complaints against Labour members, the party's ruling body has recommended.

Labour has been criticised for the way it handles sexual harassment complaints.
PA Images

In a major breakthrough for campaigners, a meeting of Labour's ruling National Executive Committee agreed that such probes should no longer be carried solely by party officials.

The move came after one activist who claims she was raped by a senior Labour official accused the party of "dragging its feet" over the matter.

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Bex Bailey was just 19 when she was allegedly attacked at a Labour event - but warned that it could harm her career if she reported it.

Labour asked top QC Karon Monaghan to carry out a probe into her case, and make recommendations on how the party could handle complaints of sexual impropriety better.

At yesterday's nine-hour NEC meeting at Labour HQ, members agreed that non-party figures should be involved in the process.

Delegates at Labour's annual conference in Liverpool will vote on their proposals next week.

A Labour party spokesperson said: "The Labour party is committed to continually improving our procedures for dealing with sexual harassment complaints.

"The NEC’s working group on procedures, with the support of senior staff, proposed a change to party rules to enable the involvement of independent persons in dealing with complaints of sexual harassment. This proposal was agreed by the NEC, and will be put to a vote at conference."

A party source added: "If the rule change is passed at conference, the working group will be able to bring forward concrete proposals to make sexual harassment procedures more independent.

"The procedures have already been significantly improved in the last year and many of Karon Monaghan QC’s recommendations have been implemented."

A spokesperson for the LabourToo campaign, which has been calling for a change in the rules, said: "We are delighted that the NEC has decided this evening to support proposals to change Labour party rules to enable the involvement of independent persons in dealing with complaints of sexual harassment.

"LabourToo has been calling for an independent reporting system for sexual harassment complaints since we started our campaign, and this is a really positive step towards a truly independent reporting system."

PoliticsHome revealed last night how Ms Bailey has been targeted by Twitter trolls after complaining about the way Labour has handled her case.