- Labour activist Bex Bailey says she was raped and urged not to report it by a party official.
- Bailey revealed that she was raped in 2011 and told by a senior Labour official it could “damage” her career.
- A Westminster staffer has accused an MP of sexually assaulting her during a foreign trip.
- The anonymous parliamentary aide said the matter was not taken seriously by the authorities.
LONDON — A Labour activist has said she was raped at a party event and discouraged from reporting the attack by a senior Labour official, who said it could “damage” her career.
Bex Bailey, 25, a former youth member of Labour’s national executive committee, waived her anonymity to reveal she was raped in 2011 when she was 19.
She told BBC Radio 4’s “PM” programme on Tuesday that when she attempted to report the incident two years later she was discouraged by a senior Labour official.
Labour has launched an independent investigation into the allegations and asked the police to look into the matter. Leader Jeremy Corbyn said Bailey had shown “incredible bravery” in speaking out.
She said she had been “seriously sexually assaulted at a Labour Party event by — it wasn’t an MP — but someone who was more senior to me.”
After the incident, she had “tried to pretend it hadn’t happened” and so did not report it to the police. She said: “I was scared, I felt ashamed, I know that the Labour Party, like any family, loves a good gossip – and I didn’t want people to know and I also was worried that I wouldn’t be believed if I did.”
When Bailey attempted to tell a party official two years later, she said: “It took me a while to summon up the courage to tell anyone in the party, but when I did I told a senior member of staff … it was suggested to me that I not report it.
“I was told that if I did it might damage me and that might be their genuine view. It might be that that was the case, in which case that shows that we have a serious problem in politics with this issue anyway.”
Corbyn said Bailey had “shown incredible bravery by talking publicly about what has happened to her and has my full support and solidarity.”
Senior Labour MP Yvette Cooper told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday morning: “We should have within the Labour party a contract either with a charity, or with an independent sexual violence adviser, who could come in and provide that support, so you have got somebody you can go and report to who you know is not going to be a friend of the person who you might be making the complaint about.
“I hadn’t known about Bex’s experience and obviously I wish I had known to be able to support her at the time, because is obviously an awful case. Part of the problem is you have got to be able to have an independent reporting system as part of the process.”
Westminster researcher says she was assaulted by an MP
A Westminister staff member alleged that an unnamed MP sexually assaulted her during a parliamentary trip in 2016. The anonymous woman said she had been forcibly held down on a hotel bed by the MP.
Speaking to The Guardian, the staffer said she had attempted to report the alleged incident to four different authorities including the House of Commons authorities, the MP’s party and the parliamentary commissioner but did not feel she was taken seriously. The police said they were unable to formally investigate because the incident took place abroad.
Calling Theresa May’s proposals for dealing with sexual harassment in Westminster “inadequate,” she said: “Some of the people who knew what happened to me are now being tasked with fixing this broken system and those are the very people who in my opinion at best turned a blind eye and at worst actively covered it up.”
Describing what happened, the woman said: “He said: ‘Come and talk to me while I pack my bag,’ and I honestly didn’t think anything of it. I thought we had a very professional relationship. There had been no indication of any flirting or anything at all,” she said.
When they returned to his room, she alleged: “He basically pulled me on to the bed and pushed me back, and tried to kiss me. I very clearly said: ‘No, this is not what I want.’ He held me by my shoulders and pushed me back again. On the third time, I managed to push him off again and basically ran out the room.”
Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts told MPs of this incident on Monday. She said: “he is deeply disappointed and distrustful, and she tells me that distrust is endemic.”
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