Husband of South Shields MP suspended by Labour Party pending investigation

The husband of South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck has been suspended from the Labour Party.

Thursday, 19th April 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 19th April 2018, 7:41 am
Simon Buck

Simon Buck has been suspended by the party pending an investigation after a string of allegations made against him while he was a care worker came to light following the release of an ombudsman’s report.

The report detailed allegations made by an elderly man’s wife, who claimed Mr Buck had “sworn at” and “neglected” her husband.

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck

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Earlier this month, senior women from the South Shields Labour Party wrote to Labour North and Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn calling for Mr Buck to be suspended pending an investigation into his behaviour and for senior Labour officials to visit South Shields and meet with the council’s safeguarding team so that they can “fully appreciate the level of abuse that has occurred”.

Labour North are currently carrying out an investigation over the issues raised since the report came to light.

The ombudsman’s report stated how Mr Buck claimed he was the victim of a “witch hunt” – but after a meeting in September 2014 the council found that he had neglected his elderly patient. He was sent a letter informing him of the results in October that year – but asked for a further review.

A hearing was held in June 2015, which he attended with his MP wife, who went along for what the report says was “emotional support”.

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck and husband Simon Buck.

Before the meeting, the council instructed an independent social worker who met with Mr Buck and reviewed the evidence and concluded that there was “no evidence” abuse had occurred. But despite this, at the multi-agency meeting, the council revealed it had decided the incidents reported by the elderly man’s family did happen.

And where as the swearing they found to have taken place did not cause the patient any psychological harm, not changing the continence pad until prompted by the family constituted abuse, according to the report.

A Labour North spokesperson said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints extremely seriously, which are investigated in line with our procedures.”

Mr Buck is currently employed as his wife’s part-time parliamentary assistant.

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck

The abuse claim dates back to 2014, but came out after Mr Buck complained to the Local Government Ombudsman about the council’s procedure during its investigation into the complaint.

It recommended the local authority apologise to Mr Buck and award him £400 compensation after it found he had been the victim of procedural errors.

But at an extraordinary meeting of South Tyneside’s full council, councillors unanimously rejected the recommendations.

Mr Buck has always denied the allegations.

South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck and husband Simon Buck.

A Labour party source told the Gazette: “It’s good the Labour Party are finally doing something about this. But this should have happened from day one.

“But it’s not just the MP’s husband the party should be investigating but the MP herself. There’s lots of questions that need answering and it’s about time the Labour Party called her in to answer those questions. Labour Party members deserve more, and the residents of South Shields who elected her deserve more.

“Silence should no longer be an option for her - she needs to start answering the questions asked of her.”

Both Mrs Buck and Mr Buck have failed to respond to requests from the Gazette to comment.