Ivan Lewis: Ex-Labour minister being investigated over sexual harassment allegations resigns with attack on Jeremy Corbyn

Departure brings to five the number of Labour MPs who have quit, or been sacked, since last year’s general election

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
@Rob_Merrick
Thursday 20 December 2018 19:07
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Ivan Lewis hit out at the Labour leader's handling of the antisemitism scandal
Ivan Lewis hit out at the Labour leader's handling of the antisemitism scandal

A former Labour minister being investigated over allegations of sexual harassment has quit the party, with an attack on Jeremy Corbyn.

Ivan Lewis hit out at the Labour leader's handling of the antisemitism scandal that has dogged him and at the way the disciplinary process had been handled.

But Labour defended the process and a source said Mr Lewis' resignation meant the complainant in the case had been denied a hearing.

His departure brings to five the number of Labour MPs who have quit, or have been sacked, since last year’s general election, with a further one still suspended.

Mr Lewis, who has been suspended from Labour for more than a year, used his resignation letter to Mr Corbyn to criticise both his leader and his key aide Seumas Milne.

The Bury South MP said: “It is for others to decide whether you are anti-Semitic, but what is absolutely clear is that you and Seumas Milne do not believe in the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in their own state.

“This is different to your view on the right to self-determination for every other minority community.”

Mr Lewis, a former foreign office minister, said Mr Corbyn was “unwilling to condemn those whose hatred of Israel becomes Jew hatred, this is incompatible with being a lifelong campaigner against racism.”

The Labour leader had an “anti-western world view” and “it is no wonder that so many British people are uncomfortable at the prospect of you becoming prime minister”, he added.

Mr Lewis said he would continue to sit as an independent in the House of Commons, rather than resign his seat.

A Labour source said: “Ivan was under investigation for alleged sexual harassment. His resignation means the complainants have been denied a hearing.”

His suspension followed a BuzzFeed News report that a woman alleged Mr Lewis had touched her leg and invited her to his house when she was 19 at a Labour Party event in 2010.

A Labour party spokesperson said: “Jeremy Corbyn thanks Ivan for his service to the Labour party.

“The Labour Party takes all complaints of sexual harassment extremely seriously, which are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and appropriate disciplinary action taken.

“This case was referred to a full hearing of Labour’s national constitutional committee. The process is the same for everyone.”

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