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Welsh Labour MP accused of sexual harassment stands down

28 May 2024 6 minute read
Geraint Davies, the Labour (Co-op) MP for Swansea West. Photo Richard Townshend/UK Parliament

Martin Shipton

A Welsh Labour MP who was suspended by the party a year ago following allegations that he had sexually harassed female colleagues has said he will not be a candidate in the general election.

Geraint Davies, who has represented Swansea West since 2010, was the subject of an exposé by the political website Politico.

Honour

On Tuesday evening (May 28) he issued a statement that said: “It has been an honour and privilege to have served the people of Swansea West as their Member of Parliament for the past 14 years.

“I am grateful for the support and friendship of people across Swansea West, and I hope that the help and advice my team and I have provided to thousands of people in Swansea has had a real benefit.

“Having been suspended a year ago following anonymous allegations posted in the media, I am disappointed that I have yet to have a Labour Party hearing and the opportunity to clear my name and as a result, I am unable to stand as a Labour candidate in the forthcoming General Election and will continue to pursue a fair hearing after it.

“Having been a public representative of the Labour Party for 33 years, 11 as a councillor and Leader and 22 as an MP, I am keenly aware of the need for a Labour Government to provide opportunity, growth and social justice in place of the austerity and decline from the Conservatives.

“The issues that I have focussed on during my career, including my Clean Air and Plastics Bills in Parliament, in campaigning for fair investment in Wales for rail, steel and our universities, for our democratic rights to peaceful protest, for international law to be upheld, for greater equality and, as Council of Europe Trade Rapporteur, in embedding climate change and human rights into trade agreements, remain key issues for the future.

“Moving forwards I intend to use my experience and energy to continue working and campaigning on these issues for the better future we all deserve.”

Unwanted sexual attention

According to Politico’s, five women said Mr Davies subjected them to unwanted sexual attention, both physical and verbal, after coming into contact with them through his work as an MP.

Many of the alleged incidents took place on the parliamentary estate, sometimes in bars or after late-night votes. One of the women he allegedly targeted was 19 years old at the time.

At the time the allegations were published, Mr Davies, 64, said he did not “recognise” them, adding: “If I have inadvertently caused offence to anyone, then I am naturally sorry.” In June 2023 he was suspended from the Labour Party, pending an investigation.

Politico claimed to have spoken to more than 20 people who worked with Mr Davies in parliament, including serving MPs and current and former members of Labour Party staff. They described a pattern of excessive drinking, sexual comments and unwanted touching by him stretching back at least five years, directed exclusively at younger women in the workplace.

Politico claimed that Mr Davies’ alleged behaviour appeared to have been an open secret in certain parts of the Labour Party, but no action was taken in the absence of a formal complaint.

In one instance, a former Labour Party staffer alleged that Mr Davies, then 58, approached her while she was extremely intoxicated in a parliamentary bar. He proceeded to buy her another alcoholic drink and suggested they could go back to his nearby flat, she claimed.

Uncomfortable

She was 22 years old at the time. Mr Davies was said to have taken her number, saying he wanted to discuss parliamentary business, and subsequently sent her a string of sexually suggestive messages, alluding to masturbation on the parliamentary premises.

Politico said the former researcher initially responded to his messages in amusement, but later became uncomfortable and asked him to stop.

Separately, a Labour Party activist alleged Mr Davies had attempted to cultivate a relationship with her when she was 19 years old, after meeting her at a conference. She claimed that he repeatedly singled her out for private chats and approached her outside work hours, before inviting her to his hotel room. She declined the invitation, but said it made her feel “uncomfortable and under pressure”.

In further separate incidents, Davies allegedly touched two younger female MPs without their consent.

One MP alleged that Davies pressed his leg against hers during a meeting in a way which made her feel “deeply uncomfortable.” Afterwards, he continued to try to engage her in conversation and would wink at her in the House of Commons chamber, she claimed.

Another female MP claimed he came up behind her during a late-night vote in parliament, put his hand on her waist from behind and said: “Glad we can go home now.”

A fifth woman, a former parliamentary official, claimed that he repeatedly commented on her appearance, and made remarks such as “you smell nice” and “you’re my favorite person to sit next to.” The woman eventually left her job, blaming the lack of support offered to parliamentary staff who have been made to feel uncomfortable at work by MPs.

Working late

Later Warrington North Labour MP Charlotte Nichols told BBC Panorama that Mr Davies had put his hand on her waist while she was working late.

She said that before she was elected, she was warned by colleagues about people to avoid in Westminster because of concerns about sexual harassment. She said she had a list of about 30 people. “One of the first MPs she had been warned about when entering Westminster was Mr Davies,” she told Panorama. “I had fairly studiously avoided him for most of my first year or so in Parliament.”

She recounted one incident when she encountered him while working late: “There was one evening after a very late vote that we had where I came down to the cash machine to draw some cash out to get a taxi home at the end of the night, and on that corridor there’s no CCTV, it’s not really that widely used at that time of the evening. So, it was quiet and he came up behind me when I was at the cash machine, put his hand on sort of the back part of my waist and said ‘I’m glad we get to go home now’.”

Lawyers for Mr Davies told Panorama at the time the programme went out that he “totally denies all sexual harassment allegations” and he was prevented by Labour Party rules from commenting to avoid prejudicing ongoing investigations and any future hearing.

The selection of a new candidate for Swansea West – where Mr Davies had a majority of 8,116 over the second-placed Tory candidate at the last general election in 2019 – is now in the hands of Labour’s Welsh Executive Committee.


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
16 days ago

Out of a dozen topics only Derek does not involve dodgy politics, SNAFU…

John Ellis
John Ellis
16 days ago

Yet another MP quietly beetling off following hints of scandal. And the member for the Westminster constituency in which, fifty years ago, I once lived!

Seems to be quite a current trend, and a further sad sign of the sourness which has infected our politics in recent times.

hdavies15
hdavies15
16 days ago
Reply to  John Ellis

Politics is full of creeps.

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