The UK’s Shadow Shipping, Aviation and Road Safety Minister Karl Turner has been accused of slapping a woman’s buttocks at his constituency office in 2015, and making comments about her reconstructed breasts following a double-mastectomy.
Karl Turner’s alleged sexual harassment of a cancer survivor
According to reporting by Laura Hughes in the Financial Times yesterday, the Labour Hull East MP was challenged about the slap and responded, “I couldn’t help myself.”
According to witnesses, Karl Turner then said to the recent cancer surivor that she “shouldn’t have got rid of her real tits because they were great. The ones you’ve got now are nice enough.”
Although she declined to offer any comment, the FT was able to directly confirm the story with the woman Turner was said to be addressing. One person identified as having been present, however, said they do not recall Turner’s remarks.
Karl Turner has denied the allegations via a statement from his solicitors. “I am aware of reports in the media about my alleged inappropriate behaviour. I strongly reject any suggestion that I behaved inappropriately or in a misogynistic manner.”
Labour’s serial scandals
Labour Party sources claim that the party takes such allegations seriously and anyone with a complaint should come forward so it can be fully investigated. As the woman who is subject to the alleged abuse wishes to remain quiet, there may be no investigation.
But this is not the only row regarding shadow ministerial conduct engulfing the Labour Party at present. On Sunday the party announced that Shadow Secretary for Work & Pensions, Debbie Abramhams MP, was stepping down while an “employment issue” was investigated.
In a statement Abrahams denied the allegations, however, “in the strongest possible terms.”
“I have had no details about the complaint, who it is from, the process or timescales. I have not agreed to stand aside.
“I will fight this spurious claim and do not rule out taking legal action.”
Apparently the allegation against Abrahams is that she bullied her staff. She in turn is accusing the Labour Party of bullying her.
“My treatment in the last week has shown a bullying culture of the worst kind. As such I am making a formal complaint to both the Labour party and parliamentary authorities.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has had his own recent troubles.
At last week’s Prime Minister’s Question Time he said in a question to Theresa May, “Tomorrow is International Women’s Day, a chance to both celebrate on how far we’ve come on equality for women, but also to reflect on how far we still have to go, not just in this country but around the world.”
To which May responded with uncharacteristic sharpness, “I thank the right honourable gentleman for telling me that it is International Women’s Day tomorrow. I think that’s what’s called ‘mansplaining.'”