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So if Labour is really serious about sexual harassment what about Fiona Jones MP?

Tom Winnifrith
Wednesday 1 November 2017

Fiona Jones died a decade ago of alcohol related illness. She was a broken woman found dead lying among empty vodka bottles. Just a decade earlier she had been elected to Parliament as the MP for Newark, a Blair Babe with all to look forward to. But things all went horribly wrong for her. And a major factor in that was alleged sexual harassment by a very senior minister in the Blair and Brown governments and everyone at Westminster and in the media knows who.

Writing after her death the Daily Mail noted:

She used to laugh about the notion of the 'sisterhood' and said it was fiction." The situation was not helped, it seems, by rumours in Westminster that Fiona was enjoying an extramarital affair with an influential party figure.

"She confided in me that some of the female MPs were jealous of her profile and started suggesting she was being given a little assistance," the friend says. "It was laughable. "But Fiona was convinced there was a whispering campaign against her among certain sections of the Labour Party, who saw her as a liability after her conviction, even though she was subsequently cleared."

The truth, in fact - if Fiona is to be believed - is more sinister. Two years ago, she revealed to a tabloid newspaper that she had been on the receiving end of a persistent campaign of harassment from the same senior politician - now a Government minister - to whom she had been romantically linked. He had, she says, pestered her for sex and then cold-shouldered her both personally and professionally after she rejected his advances.

One friend in whom she confided told the Mail: "Fi had complained that this man had been leaving flirtatious messages on her answerphone at home and that he'd been very flirtatious with her in public. "She was very upset about it, particularly as on one occasion her husband had questioned her about it."

The flirtatious overtures culminated, Fiona claimed, in the politician propositioning her for sex during the Labour Party Conference of 1997. "I walked into the lift and he followed me," she revealed. "Then suddenly he gave me a kiss and added: 'Shall we go to your room?' It was obvious he wanted sex.

"He was close enough for me to tell he was aroused. I was shocked and turned him down, only to be told: 'Do you know what I can do for you?' It was clear what he meant - he had the power to make or break careers."

She had spurned his advances, she said, and the following morning been roundly cold-shouldered during a political photocall. Later, when she asked the same politician for a character reference as she fought her election expenses case, he robustly refused.

As one insider put it: "Everyone knows who she was accusing. It is not a secret by any stretch of the imagination."

Ends

The point here is that Jones made the accusation at the time and no-one in Labour lifted a finger to investigate it.. Everyone at Westminster and in the media knows who the very senior figure is but perhaps he was deemed so senior that he was above investigation then? This chap still appears regularly on your TV screen to bat for Labour  so will his party now conduct an enquiry even though poor Mrs Jones is dead to show that no-one is too powerful to get away with this sort of thing?

Or if the alleged harasser is still deemed important enough does the Labour Party just focus on Tory sinners, arguing I'm alright Jack and move on.

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About Tom Winnifrith
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Tom Winnifrith is the editor of TomWinnifrith.com. When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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