21st Oct, 2017

Labour accused of delay in Coventry councillors 'abuse' row

Coventry Editorial 3rd Feb, 2015 Updated: 28th Oct, 2016

THE Labour party Is facing accusations of delays and a cover-up in handling a formal complaint by one Coventry councillor against another.

Sources say councillor Jayne Innes alleges she was subjected to abusive and inappropriate conduct in a series of incidents involving a Labour councillor colleague.

But, despite initially complaining last April, the matter still has not been concluded.

Sources accuse the party of kicking serious accusations into touch until after local and general elections in May to avoid any further political fall-out and damaging publicity.

One source close to the Labour party in Coventry said: “The leadership of Coventry Labour Group has lost control of both the group and the membership.

“Jayne made the complaint last April. The Coventry council Labour group investigated immediately and felt that the potential sanctions were so serious it needed to be passed upwards.

“Nine months later it is with the Labour Party national executive but an outcome is still awaited.

“The inability to deal with abuse of a councillor in the group speaks volumes.

“It seems the party does not want to take action this side of the elections because it would potentially be damaging.”

Coun Innes became a Labour councillor for the Whoberley ward in 2012 after standing for Parliament in Nuneaton in 2010. She is also chair of the council’s scrutiny committee overseeing education and child protection issues.

Sources say she lodged her formal complaint last April with the council group whip, Labour councillor Pat Hetherton.

The complaint was later referred to the regional Labour party as it was thought to be too serious to be handled locally. The regional party sought an informal resolution in September, but there was no agreement.

The matter was then referred to the party’s national executive committee and a panel was set up, with some interviews held in November.

It is understood the other councillor at the centre of the allegations, who the Observer has chosen not to name, has insisted on the matter being fully investigated, has lodged a formal complaint himself about Coun Innes’ conduct towards him, and denies all allegations against him.

A Labour party spokesman said: “We’re not going to comment on internal party matters.”

The council leadership declined to comment.

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