April 30, 2018 / 6:58 PM / 21 days ago

British lawmaker suspended by Labour after sexual harassment allegations

LONDON (Reuters) - A British Labour party opposition lawmaker has been suspended pending an investigation, Labour said on Monday, after media reports alleging that he had harassed a staff member.

John Woodcock, a critic of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, is alleged to have sent inappropriate messages to a former staffer, according to the newspapers, the Mail on Sunday and Sunday Mirror.

“John Woodcock has been suspended from the Labour Party pending due process,” a party spokesman said.

“It would not be appropriate to comment further on an ongoing case.”

Woodcock said he did not accept the charge brought against him but was co-operating with the investigation. However, he said he was concerned that details of the allegations had emerged in the press, and criticised the decision to suspend him.

“The decision at this politically charged time to place details of my case in the press and then suspend me places a serious question mark over the integrity of the process, which serves neither those making complaints nor those facing allegations,” Woodcock said in a statement.

“I want this complaint to be judged in a way that is seen to be fair.”

Reporting by Alistair Smout; Additional reporting by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Richard Balmforth

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