Senior women from South Shields CLP call on Jeremy Corbyn to suspend MP’s husband from party

Coun Tracey Dixon
Coun Tracey Dixon

A call has been made by senior women members of South Shields Constituency Labour Party for Simon Buck – husband of South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck – to be suspended from the party.

An independent panel found Mr Buck carried out elder abuse during his time working in care homes in the borough

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Party vice chairwoman Ruth Berkley, membership vice chairwoman Judith Taylor and the council’s lead member independence and well-being, Coun Tracey Dixon, have written to the Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn asking for his intervention.

In their letter they call on the party to suspend Mr Buck – who is employed by his wife as a part-time parliamentary assistant – pending a full inquiry into his behaviour.

They also call for senior Labour officials to visit South Shields and meet with the council’s safeguarding team to “fully appreciate the level of abuse that has occurred”.

The abuse claim dates back to 2014 – but last month came to light now after Mr Buck complained to the Local Government Ombudsman about the council’s procedure during its investigation.

The ombudsman’s report details how the allegations were made by an elderly man’s wife, who claimed Mr Buck – referred to throughout only as ‘Mr Y’ in the document – had “sworn at” and “neglected” her husband.

Mr Buck was suspended by South Tyneside Home Care – the agency he worked for – in July 2014 following the allegations.

He was subsequently given a written warning – but the man’s wife made a safeguarding alert to the council, which launched its own probe.

Mr Buck resigned from his post and secured a job as an auxiliary nurse at South Tyneside District Hospital.

It withdrew its offer of shifts after it discovered there were safeguarding concerns.

Separate allegations were also made by a whistleblower, who alleged Mr Buck swore at vulnerable people and their families, used homophobic language and potentially missed care calls.

Mr Buck denies any wrongdoing and, despite being entitled to seek legal redress, has, so far, chosen not to do so.

In the letter to Mr Corbyn, the South Shields CLP members state: “We have been overwhelmed by the number of Labour Party members who have contacted us, requesting an All Members Meeting to discuss this matter.

“We have resisted such a request given we are now in purdah and we are endeavouring to protect the image of the Labour Party.

“However we feel we have no alternative but to write to you and request that the Party suspend Mr Buck pending a full inquiry into his behaviour, which should include senior Labour officials meeting the Safeguarding Team on South Tyneside to apprise themselves of the full facts.”

Labour North has confirmed an investigation into the issues raised following the release of the report has been launched and says the party is unable to comment further as the probe is ongoing.

It said the matter was being taken “very seriously.”

The spokesman added: “This is a complex situation, which we acknowledge needs to be dealt with appropriately. We are currently looking into the issues raised.

Mr Buck and Mrs Lewell-Buck have not responded to requests by the Shields Gazette to comment.

Simon Buck

Simon Buck

Emma Lewell-Buck

Emma Lewell-Buck