Labour MP accuses party of gaslighting over sexual misconduct claims handling

Labour MP Charlotte Nichols has accused her own party of “gaslighting” her after she criticised its handling of sexual misconduct allegations. Nichols, the MP for Warrington North, claims that Labour only took action against suspended MP Geraint Davies after details about his alleged “unacceptable behaviour” became public knowledge. Additionally, she accused her party of “choosing not to act” over a member of the opposition frontbench, who has been the target of sexual misconduct allegations. In response, Labour stated that it has ensured “there is a wide range of support available to complainants, to provide confidence and confidential guidance throughout the disciplinary process.” However, Nichols disputes this, accusing Labour of “gaslighting” her.

She tweeted: “Objectively untrue from Labour and always nice to be gaslighted by the party you’ve been a member of since you were a teenager and now represent in Westminster. The moral high ground is earned and I’m ashamed we don’t have it on this topic, even if no party has clean hands.”

Last month, Tortoise Media reported that a female Labour MP claimed she had been sexually assaulted by a male shadow minister after a summer party in London in July 2021. The BBC later reported that a complaint was made to the Met Police but they would not be investigating the matter “at the victim’s request”. At the time, Labour said it had not been contacted by the police or received a formal complaint.

Speaking to the Warrington Guardian, Nichols said everyone who has the power to act on the case “has the information they need to do so and it’s beyond disappointing that until now my party has chosen not to”. She suggested she could name the individual in the House of Commons, where politicians can’t be sued for defamation under the terms of Parliamentary Privilege.

Referring to the case of Geraint Davies, who was suspended from Labour last week pending an investigation into reports of “incredibly serious allegations of completely unacceptable behaviour”, Nichols said: “As the Labour Party only acted in the Geraint Davies case at the point at which his name came into the public domain despite allegations stretching back over an extended period, if this is what it takes to get them to do the right thing, then I reserve the right to do this.”

However, she expressed hope that it would not come to this, as Labour should “not need to be publicly shamed into taking robust action”. Nichols has previously spoken of a list of 30 MPs she says she was warned to “steer clear” of after being elected in 2019 and condemned a “rotten culture” within Westminster when it comes to handling sexual misconduct allegations.

MPs are set to vote on banning members from parliament if they are under criminal investigation for sexual or violent offences later this month amid growing pressure over the so-called “pestminster” scandal.

In response to Nichols’ comments to the Warrington Guardian, a Labour spokesperson said: “We urge anyone with a complaint to come forward to Labour’s independent complaints process, Parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme or, if appropriate, the police, so that allegations can be swiftly and fully investigated and action taken. The party has ensured that there is a wide range of support available to complainants, to provide confidence and confidential guidance throughout the disciplinary process.”

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Jamie Cartwright

Jamie is a keen traveler, writer, and (English) teacher. A few years after finishing school in the East Mids, UK, he went traveling around South America and Asia. Several teaching and writing jobs, he found himself at The Thaiger where he mostly covers international news and events.

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