Labour’s welfare chief Debbie Abrahams forced to stand aside over bullying allegations

Labour’s Debbie Abrahams investigated by party over ‘workplace issue’

Party says shadow work and pensions secretary has stood aside over allegations of bullying, which she denies

The shadow work and pensions secretary, Debbie Abrahams, is being investigated by Labour over a “workplace issue” understood to be connected to claims of bullying, something she has vehemently denied.

Debbie Abrahams, who has led the party’s campaigns against the Tories’ cruel benefits cuts, strongly denies the claims which are understood to have been made by a number of employees.

The Daily Mirror understands Ms Abrahams, who has been shadow secretary of state for work and pensions since 2016, was asked to stand aside on Friday night but refused after the Labour Party refused to tell her the nature of the allegations or who had made them.

The reported bullying is understood to concern political advisors in Ms Abraham’s department, who are employed directly by the Labour Party.

These accusations are being investigated by the Labour Party rather than the whips office.

Margaret Greenwood, who is currently a shadow work and pensions minister, will stand in for Ms Abrahams while the investigation takes place.

Ms Abrahams hit back at the Labour leader’s office including “certain individuals” of “aggressive, intimidating and wholly unprofessional” behaviour.

“My treatment by certain individuals in the Leader’s Office over the last 10 months has been aggressive, intimidating and wholly unprofessional.

“My treatment in the last week has shown a bullying culture of the worst kind.

“As such I am making a formal complaint to both the Labour Party and Parliamentary Authorities.”

The Labour Party did not want to comment on Ms Abraham’s allegations.

Shadow Defense Secretary Nia Griffith said “both sides” of the dispute must be fully investigated by the party.

Speaking on the BBC’s Westminster Hour she said: “I think what is most important is that people are able to come forward if they do feel things are not right, and to report them.

“But I think until a proper investigation is held it would be very wrong to apportion blame on any side … I hope very much that the party taking this forward will make sure that they do a thorough investigation of all sides and all of the issues that are involved in this particular case.”

Westminster has been rocked by bullying scandals in recent months.

A cross-party committee chaired by Commons leader Andrea Leadsom has drawn up plans to stamp out such behaviour in the wake of widespread allegations of harrassment within the corridors of power.

MPs found to have bullied or harassed their staff will have to write a letter of apology and undergo training, under the new plans.

In more serious cases, they could be suspended or forced to face a public vote on their future.

Last week Speaker John Bercow was forced to deny bullying allegations after the BBC’s Newsnight aired interviews with former staff members accusing him of intimidating behaviour.

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Source : https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/mar/11/labours-debbie-abrahams-stands-aside-over-workplace-issue
Source : https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/labours-welfare-chief-debbie-abrahams-12169818

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