Labour accused of burying investigation into alleged rape of activist
Labour is accused of burying its own investigation into the alleged rape of 19-year-old activist
- The probe began last November after activist Bex Bailey said she’d been raped
- The review examined how Labour deals with sexual harrasment complaints
- Its findings will feed into another inquiry by Labour into sexual harassment
Bex Bailey claims she was raped at a party
Labour is under mounting pressure to publish the findings of an investigation into sexual harassment in the party amid concerns of a cover-up.
The probe began last November after activist Bex Bailey said she had been raped at a party event in 2011 aged 19 but told to keep quiet by a senior figure because it could damage her career.
The review, which also looked at how Labour deals with other such complaints, was carried out by top QC Karon Monaghan and handed to party chiefs two weeks ago.
But while Miss Bailey, a former member of Labour’s ruling national executive committee, has been allowed to see sections of the report, there are no plans to publish it.
Instead, the findings will now feed into another inquiry into sexual harassment being carried out by Labour’s new in-house QC, Gordon Nardell.
But it has also emerged that Mr Nardell, who has been appointed to advise on disciplinary cases, has ties to figures caught up in the party’s anti-Semitism scandal.
Ken Livingstone was suspended for saying Hitler was an early supporter of Zionism and resigned last month, while anti-Semitic remarks were made at a fringe event at Labour’s party conference last autumn. Leader Jeremy Corbyn, a supporter of the Palestinian cause, has been condemned for describing the banned terror group Hezbollah as ‘friends’.
Ken Livingstone was previously suspended for saying Hitler was a supporter of Zionism
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The appointment of Mr Nardell, reportedly once a member of hard-left group Militant, has sparked anger among Labour MPs.
In a post on Facebook Mr Nardell had said Mr Livingstone’s comments were merely ‘crass and ill-judged’, and derided the criticism as ‘anti-Labour nonsense’. He is also linked to Elleanne Green, the founder of the controversial Palestine Live Facebook group where some members have made horrendous anti-Semitic comments. She is currently under investigation by Labour. Miss Green voiced her delight at his appointment, describing him as ‘a non-Zionist Jew’ and ‘a brilliant mind’. She also described the long-time Labour supporter as ‘a man I like and trust’. But Labour MP Luciana Berger, who is Jewish, said she had ‘no faith’ in the party’s attempts to tackle anti-Semitism after it appointed Mr Nardell.
She called on party bosses to ‘urgently review’ the decision. Concerns raised with the party last month that the frontrunner to take on the task ‘was identifiably connected to organisations and individuals that seek to deny the anti-Semitism problem’ were ignored, she said.
Labour MP John Mann, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on anti-Semitism, said he wanted to question Mr Nardell over his alleged comments about Mr Livingstone. A Labour source said: ‘Gordon Nardell is Jewish and has a long record of challenging and campaigning against anti-Semitism and all forms of discrimination, and of championing equality.’
One Labour MP told the Politics Home website they were unsure why Karon Monaghan’s report into the Bex Bailey case needed reviewing ‘by another lawyer who is a member of the party and has no expertise in the area’. The MP added: ‘We all put a lot of faith into her doing the report and this just looks like back-covering.’
Another Labour source said: ‘It is yet more sweeping problems under the carpet from Labour.’
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