Two Labour MPs have revealed they were cautioned about Swansea West MP Geraint Davies during their initial weeks in Westminster. According to the MPs, they were advised by their colleagues to “watch out” for Davies. The Labour Party suspended Davies following Politico news website’s reports of “completely unacceptable behaviour.” The MP faces accusations of subjecting younger female colleagues to unwanted sexual attention, though he claims not to recognise the allegations.
One of the MPs who spoke to BBC Wales alleged that she experienced lewd comments and inappropriate touching. “He was always lewd and yuck in terms of his behaviour, it was just his MO (the way he operated),” she said. “It was never sinister, just inappropriate. He’d make lewd comments or touch your arm when you were next to him in the voting lobby. It just made you feel uncomfortable.”
She added that when she first became an MP, several people warned her about Davies. “It’s about time this came to light,” she said. A second female MP told BBC Wales that fellow MPs also advised her to avoid Davies, though she had not experienced or witnessed any inappropriate behaviour herself. She believes the party needs to reassess its procedures.
“The Labour Party have a new complaints process, but we now need to question if it’s working. There needs to be a review of that process to see whether it’s working and if it’s robust enough,” she said. “Why do we need to put the onus on young women to come forward and to make an official complaint before action is taken?”
In response to earlier claims, Davies told Politico he did not recognise the allegations. “If I have inadvertently caused offence to anyone, then I am naturally sorry as it is important that we share an environment of mutual and equal respect for all,” he said.
First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, said his party has “acted swiftly” to suspend Davies. He told the BBC that the accusations against Davies are “very serious” and “need to be taken seriously.” Initially, Labour claimed it had not received a formal complaint, but it is now understood that one has been filed.
A Labour spokesperson previously stated: “These are incredibly serious allegations of completely unacceptable behaviour. We strongly encourage anyone with a complaint to come forward to the Labour Party’s investigation.” They added that any complainant will have access to an independent support service providing confidential and independent guidance and advice from external experts throughout the process.
Labour general secretary David Evans announced a review of the complaints process following previous incidents, including an aide receiving a warning after allegedly groping a junior staff member. In an email sent last week, Evans said: “Since the stories two weeks ago, it has been my urgent focus that we review the formal processes through which our colleagues can report such behaviour, how we work together with independent complaints bodies to ensure rigorous outcomes and protection for staff while investigations are ongoing, and how we can create a culture in which colleagues feel safe and encouraged to make a complaint if they need to.”
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