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Exclusive: Labour MP Stephen Hepburn Facing Sexual Harassment Allegation

HuffPost UK logo HuffPost UK 20/03/2019 Rachel Wearmouth
Stephen Hepburn wearing a suit and tie: Labour MP for Jarrow Stephen Hepburn © PA Archive/PA Images Labour MP for Jarrow Stephen Hepburn

Labour MP Stephen Hepburn is facing an allegation of sexual harassment, HuffPost UK can reveal. 

The 59-year-old Jarrow MP is alleged to have targeted a female party member in her 20s back in 2005, according to a complaint lodged with the party. 

A fellow MP, who was said to be present at the alleged incident, has submitted evidence to an internal investigation.

Hepburn is said to have cornered the young woman after a night out and wanted to joined her in a taxi home, it is claimed.  

Read more: Labour adopts new sexual harassment policy (The Guardian)

The MP writes that Hepburn was allowing the woman “little or no freedom of movement” and that he can recall the incident, alleged to have taken place at a curry restaurant 14 years ago, “quite vividly, because it was so unpleasant”. 

It is understood the complaint was previously dropped and has now been reopened in light of the MP’s evidence. 

“During the course of the meal, Stephen made laddish ‘banter’ and the atmosphere was rather awkward,” the MP wrote in a statement.

The young woman grew tired after the meal and wanted to go home in a taxi, he said. 

“The indication was entirely clear that he wanted to take her back in the taxi,” the MP’s evidence continued. 

“His actions crossed the line between tactile and aggressive. He was saying ‘come on’ and standing between her and the wall allowing her little or no freedom of movement.

“[The woman] was very upset.” 

It was at that point that the MP “interposed” himself between Hepburn and the woman and she was able to leave.  

Watch: Gillette MeToo advert sparks backlash (Evening Standard)

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The politician wrote: “I am sure he would not have treated a man in the same way. His whole attitude was predatory. He was a little drunk – loose tongued and jovial. However, he was speaking coherently and certainly was not drunk enough to fall down.” 

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

“We are determined to challenge and overturn sexual harassment and misogyny within politics and across society as a whole.”

HuffPost UK has attempted to contact Stephen Hepburn for a response to the allegations. 

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