Clive Lewis cleared by Labour over sexual harassment claim

MP ‘very pleased’ after party investigation dismisses allegation he grabbed a woman’s bottom, Guardian has learned

Clive Lewis, the Labour MP and former shadow business secretary, has been cleared of allegations of sexual harassment after a party investigation.

Lewis, the MP for Norwich South, was accused of grabbing a female Labour member’s bottom at a fringe event at the party’s conference in September. The woman told the Independent last month: “We had a hug and while we were having a hug he gave my bum a big squeeze.”

Lewis had previously apologised after it emerged he told a man to “get on your knees, bitch”, understood to be at the same event, part of Momentum’s The World Transformed festival.

An internal investigation has dismissed the claim of sexual harassment against him, the Guardian has learned.

Lewis expressed relief that he had been cleared. “I am very pleased to be able to put this behind me and move on,” he said. “I believe it right and proper the Labour party treats all allegations of bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct seriously.

“I want to express my gratitude to my wife, friends and constituents who have supported me during recent weeks. I look forward very much to continuing my work in parliament, fighting for the people I represent and the city I love.”

Labour announced a formal investigation into the claim against Lewis last month, but did not suspend the whip from him while it was carried out. The allegations emerged as a number of women in politics highlighted what they saw as inappropriate behaviour in the wake of revelations about film mogul Harvey Weinstein.

The defence secretary, Michael Fallon, resigned, admitting he had not met the high standards expected of the armed forces of which he was in charge, after journalist Jane Merrick said he had lunged at her after a lunch in Westminster.

Labour MPs Kelvin Hopkins and Ivan Lewis remain under investigation.

Clive Lewis insisted when the allegations against him were reported: “This is not how I roll.”

The woman told the Independent: “My friend who was there, a fellow delegate … me and him looked at each other and our eyebrows went ‘whoaaa’. You kind of jump. I didn’t feel grossed out. I definitely laughed. It felt like if you are hugging a mate. I don’t know. It was over-familiar. I had never met him before.”

Lewis was regarded as a rising star on the left of the party before he fell out with the front bench and resigned earlier this year over Labour’s backing for legislation allowing Theresa May to trigger article 50, the formal process for leaving the European Union.

A Labour party spokesperson said: “After consideration of statements provided by the complainant and the respondent, the NEC’s sexual harassment panel has ruled that on the balance of the evidence the matter should not be referred to a full hearing of the national constitutional committee. The Labour party will not be commenting further on this case.”

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Heather Stewart Political editor

The GuardianTramp

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