Labour stay silent over Jarrow MP probe

Labour Party bosses have refused to be drawn on the progress of an investigation into a sexual harassment allegation against a South Tyneside MP.

Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn.
Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn.

They would not give an update into an inquiry launched at least a month ago into a claim against Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn.

Mr Hepburn, 59, who has represented the town since 1997, failed to comment when contacted by the Gazette.

A Labour Party spokesman said only: “We don’t give a running commentary on individual complaints.

“We promise confidentiality to complainants and treat their complaints with the utmost sensitivity, and because we must uphold our legal responsibilities for data protection.”

The allegation is believed to concern an incident said to have happened 14 years ago and which has previously gone through party processes.

It is understood that additional witness testimony has come to light, which has led to the current probe.

The Labour Party had previously stated that it takes all complaints of sexual harassment extremely seriously.

It has claimed they are fully investigated and that any appropriate disciplinary action is taken in line with party rules and procedures.

The party has insisted it is determined to challenge and overturn sexual harassment and misogyny within politics and across society as a whole.

It recently launched a new Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedure, which means that, for the first time, independent specialists will be involved in investigations.

They will gather evidence from the complainant and give advice on how the investigation should proceed.

Mr Hepburn was returned at the last General Election in the traditional Labour seat with a majority of more than 17,000.

There was no comment available from Mr Hepburns office