Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

RMT accused of dismissing attack claim by activist


Jerome Taylor
Friday 08 March 2013 19:22 GMT

RMT union officials subjected a female member to a “character assassination” when she went to them with allegations that a senior leader had violently assaulted her, she has claimed.

Caroline Leneghan, a full time activist with the RMT, one of the UK’s most militant unions, claims she was beaten up by her then boyfriend and the current assistant general secretary Steve Hedley last year in an attack which allegedly left her with multiple facial bruisings.

She claims she went to union bosses with the allegations in January expecting them to be investigated. But instead of being treated as a potential victim, she says RMT investigators blamed her for the attack – even suggesting her wounds were self-inflicted.

In a blog posted today she wrote: “I was distressed and astonished at the questions I was asked and the investigating officer displayed a total lack of respect and sensitivity, and a lack of understanding of domestic violence.”

Mr Hedley, a senior figure at RMT and the union’s London regional coordinator, strenuously denies any wrongdoing. Although Mrs Lenghan reported the allegations to the police, no charges were brought by the CPS. The case comes at a time of growing concern among equality activists over how the Left treats victims of sexual and violent abuse. In January the Socialist Workers Party was thrown into crisis when it emerged the party decided against reporting an allegation of rape against a senior member to the police.

An RMT spokesman said: “RMT takes all allegations of bullying, abuse, domestic violence and harassment seriously and a full investigation is currently underway,”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in