I'll be interested to see if The Sunday Times follows up the report in last week's newspaper alleging that Jeremy Corbyn's private office blocked the suspension of a senior aide, David Prescott, after a complaint of sexual harassment by a young female Labour MP.
David is the son of the former deputy prime minister, John Prescott, who was himself no stranger to workplace sex scandals after a two-year affair with a much younger female civil servant (Tracey Temple) came to light in 2006.
Prescott senior wasn't sacked or disciplined over his office shenanigans, but the scandal effectively ended the young woman's career because she was 'thrown to the wolves' while the ranks closed around a powerful male politician.
Plus ça change, I suppose.
Jeremy Corbyn’s team blocked female MP’s sexual harassment complaint
By Gabriel Pogrund and Caroline Wheeler - The Sunday Times
A letter was drafted to tell David Prescott of his suspension, but it was never sent - CHRISTOPHER FURLONG/GETTY IMAGES
Jeremy Corbyn was plunged into a new crisis last night after it emerged that his office had blocked the suspension of a senior aide accused of sexual harassment by a female Labour MP.
Leaked emails reveal that Corbyn’s team surprised the party’s governance chiefs by rejecting a formal request to suspend the Labour membership of David Prescott, 49, the leader’s trusted aide and son of former deputy prime minister John Prescott.
The disclosures will reignite claims that Corbyn’s inner circle delays or waters down investigations into his allies on issues such as anti-semitism and harassment.
The Sunday Times can disclose that in November 2017 a young female MP secretly met Corbyn and Karie Murphy, his chief of staff, to share her experience of David Prescott’s “unwarranted sexual advances”.
She also passed on further allegations that he was “forceful, rude and aggressive” to two female students in 2017 after they “refused” to have sex with him.
After the meeting, Murphy sent a memo to senior colleagues in which she outlined the claims and said the MP was “visibly distressed”. She advised that Prescott be given paid leave while the matter was investigated.
But Labour’s executive director and its head of governance and legal, wanted to go further, according to the leaked emails.
They agreed that Prescott could pose a risk to young women and said the “safest option” was to suspend him as a party member, which would have banned him from attending party events.
They even drafted a letter to tell Prescott of his suspension and emailed Murphy with their decision. But the following day Murphy replied: “I don’t agree that DP [David Prescott] membership should be suspended. Until something is in writing, I don’t think we have grounds to suspend.”
If Prescott’s membership had been suspended, he would have been automatically disqualified as a Labour candidate for Mansfield, a marginal seat he was targeting.
Insiders say Labour has often suspended individuals as members without receiving a formal complaint. “If you say it to Corbyn’s face, it’s a complaint,” said one senior source.
As a result of Murphy’s intervention, Prescott was never sent the suspension letter and was able to attend party events as he pleased. He also did not face a wider investigation into his membership.
Around the time he returned to work a fortnight later, it was clear the female MP did not feel comfortable submitting a formal written complaint further to her face-to-face meeting with Corbyn.
A friend of Prescott said that he strenuously denied any wrongdoing and that a formal complaint was never submitted.
Labour said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints of sexual harassment extremely seriously. In this case, no formal complaint was received to investigate.
“We do not comment on individual staffing matters. As an employer, the Labour Party takes disciplinary and grievance matters extremely seriously and follows protocol as directed by the Acas [conciliation service] code of practice.”
Noblesse Oblige (28/02/12)
I listened to the ridiculous old booby Lord John Prescott give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry yesterday.
If LJP's not the most inarticulate man in Britain - I'll swear I'll hop on one leg all the way to Motherwell Civic Centre - and back.
As far as I can gather - and I listened very attentively - old Two Jags thinks he is the victim of a terrible conspiracy.
Because his name appears on a list drawn up in 2006 by a private investigator - Glenn Mulcaire - working for News International.
But you can see why the deputy Prime Minister of the day was of interest to the press - because he was conducting a clandestine affair with a junior civil servant - his diary secretary at the time, Tracey Temple.
So why wouldn't the media want to expose the old goat?
Because there was a good argument for sacking the deputy PM - for mixing together his professional and personal lives - though what the much younger woman saw in the now 73-year-old Lord Prescott is anyone's guess.
In any event Lord Prescott has now received a £40,000 settlement from News International - without producing a shred of evidence to show that he suffered any actual harm or financial loss.
At one point in his evidence Lord Prescott said he did not use the voicemail on his mobile phone - because "it means you have got to reply to them if they leave a message".
Exactly, that's the whole point of having a mobile phone with a messaging service - so that government colleagues can contact you and get you to ring back if necessary - in the event of some urgent official business.
So it's pretty unebelievable that a person in high public office like the deputy Prime Minister - could be out of reach for long periods - unless it was inconvenient to be contactable in the first place of course.
Nowadays Prescott is treated a minor TV celebrity - he pops up absolutely everywhere - like a Labour version of the former Tory minister - Ann Widdecombe.
Someone told me LJP appeared in Hello Magazine a while back - which ran a big feature on LJP's big house in Hull - under the grand title 'Prescott's Castle' would you believe.
But I'm drawing a clear line in the sand.
If old Two Jags appears on the next series of Strictly Come Dancing, then that's it - I'm definitely asking for my licence fee back.