JEREMY Corbyn has slammed Westminster’s “warped and degrading” culture of sexual harassment in a speech this lunchtime.
But it comes as his own party is bracing itself for at least six more claims of abuse by MPs as the sleaze scandal deepens.
And the Labour leader himself is facing questions of his own about what he knew and when of the allegations around Kelvin Hopkins.
The backbencher was promoted to the Shadow Cabinet after complaints were made he “rubbed his crotch” on a young activist.
He denies the claims but is suspended pending an investigation – and is now one of five senior Labour figures under scrutiny.
Ex-frontbencher Clive Lewis is accused of groping a woman, Carl Sargeant has been “removed” from the Welsh Government’s Cabinet, Sheffield MP Jared O’Mara has the whip withdrawn over alleged sexist internet posts, and Bury MP Ivan Lewis denied sexually harassing a 19-year-old girl, but accepted his behaviour to female colleagues had been “unwelcome”.
Today Mr Corbyn spoke about the subject at his party’s North West conference in Blackpool, warning that abuse of power is “hiding in plain sight”.
He said: “Labour is committed not just to challenging a warped and degrading culture in Westminster, and across society, but to overturning it.
“Faced with the ongoing revelations about sexual harassment, we must make this a turning point and a moment of real change.
“We must say ‘no more’. We must no longer allow women, or anyone else for that matter, to be abused in the workplace or anywhere else.”
The Labour leader added: “This is not about peering into some dark recesses. This kind of abuse, sexism and misogyny, has been hiding in plain sight. It is all around us.
“It is, sadly, in our schools and universities, it is in our businesses and workplaces, in our newspapers and on our TV screens, and yes, it is in the corridors of power.
“It is not enough to say ‘this is wrong’, then only tinker with procedures. How we respond to this moment will shape the way we live our lives.
“We need to make a fundamental shift in the balance of power and transform the way our society works.”
But there are claims at least six more MPs and one party aide could face accusations of sexual harassment in the coming days, with rumours Labour’s own version of the so-called “dirty dossier” detailing misdeeds is circulating.
The Sunday Times is reporting one complaint is alleged to have been made by a Labour MP who was groped by a party aide.
A spokesman for party refused to reveal whether it was investigating any further complaints, but said it takes “sexual harassment, abuse and discrimination extremely seriously”.
They added: “We ask that anyone with a complaint comes forward so allegations can be properly investigated. When evidence of misconduct comes to light, all appropriate disciplinary action is taken in line with the party’s rule book.”
Addressing delegates in Blackpool, Mr Corbyn said Labour is “turning the spotlight on itself”.
He will also say a leading barrister has been appointed to investigate “if and how the party got it so painfully wrong” in the case of Bex Bailey, an activist who claims she was raped at a Labour event and was discouraged from reporting the alleged attack after an official said it would damage her career.
It comes after Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said she was ashamed at some of the “disgusting” allegations of sexual abuse in the Labour Party.
And Shadow chancellor John McDonnell called for party leaders to agree new independent procedures when they meet next week to discuss how to deal with sexual harassment claims, saying “we have got to tackle it”.
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