Ashton hits out at police `leak'

Paul Waugh,Sarah Schaefer
Tuesday 16 March 1999 01:02

THE LABOUR MP Joe Ashton, who was named as having been in a Northampton massage parlour when it was raided by police, said he was considering a complaint for the unauthorised disclosure of his identity.

Mr Ashton, MP for Bassetlaw, also said he did not "partake in or pay for any sexual services". He was named by two newspapers at the weekend as the politician found on the premises last year. In his first public statement on the allegations, he denied reports that he had refused to give his details to police as they arrested three men for sex offences.

He also said he was considering whether to ask the Police Complaints Authority to investigate how his name had been leaked. The police confirmed a man was discovered during the raid on the sauna after claims that Thai women were being forced to work there against their will. A spokeswoman said a man who was on the premises not committing any offence had refused to help police with their inquiries.

A statement by Mr Ashton yesterday said he had decided to "put certain facts right". "The reports in the press can only have come from one source: the Northamptonshire Police ... I did not give inaccurate particulars of my name and address and the reports that I did are misleading. I did not partake in or pay for any sexual services either. I am now considering ... the implications of the publication of unauthorised information to the media and whether to ask for an investigation by the Police Complaints Authority."

Northampton police said they had no plans to investigate how information about Mr Ashton was leaked to the media and that they had received no specific complaints about the conduct of any of their staff.

r The Government is "absolutely committed" to make kerb-crawling an arrestable offence as soon as possible, the Home Office minister, Paul Boateng, told the Commons.

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