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‘Couldn’t help myself’: Labour MP suspended after slapping, sexually-harassing breast cancer victim

‘Couldn’t help myself’: Labour MP suspended after slapping, sexually-harassing breast cancer victim
Labour MP Karl Turner is in hot water following allegations he slapped the bottom of a cancer survivor, telling her she “shouldn’t have got rid of [her] real tits because they were great.” She had undergone a double mastectomy.

Two witnesses allegedly heard the Kingston upon Hull East MP tell then her: “The ones you’ve got now are nice enough.” When confronted, he allegedly defended his actions by saying: “I couldn’t help myself.”

The shadow transport minister, 46, said that he was aware of the reports that had circulated in the media about his actions. However, he said he rejected “any suggestion that I behaved inappropriately or in a misogynistic manner,” according to the Times.

Labour has declined to investigate the incident, which happened in Turner’s constituency office in 2015, saying that a complaint from a victim was required.

Turner isn’t the only one in the firing line for this type of behavior – he is one of six Labour MPs at the chopping block following mass allegations of misconduct and bullying.

MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth Debbie Abrahams was suspended on Sunday as shadow pensions secretary, following accusations that she was bullying staff. Abrahams has pushed back at the claims, saying that she was the one who had been the victim of “aggressive, intimidating and wholly unprofessional” behavior by “certain individuals in the leader’s office” for more than 10 months.

Abrahams said she would complain to Labour and the parliamentary authorities. As of Monday night, the party was not understood to have received a complaint from her.

Last week Labour MP for Newcastle-under-Lyme Paul Farrelly was also accused of bullying a parliamentary clerk. Farrelly, 56, said that the claims of bullying had already been investigated but not upheld.

“Despite this, I apologized if I had inadvertently upset the clerk, who had suffered stress,” he told the Times.

Three other MPs have been suspended amid bullying or harassment allegations. Jared O’Mara, 36, was suspended after an allegation that he called a constituent an “ugly bitch.” Bury South MP Ivan Lewis, 51, and Luton North MP Kelvin Hopkins, 76, have been accused of sexual misconduct. All deny the claims.

Although a number of Labour MPs are facing bullying or harassment claims, recent allegations made against Tory MPs suggest that the issue may not be party-based, but perhaps a culture in Westminster. Last week Tory MPs Mark Pritchard and John Bercow, the speaker of the House, were also accused of bullying clerks. They have also denied such claims.

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