Labour activist 'warned' pursuing rape claim would hurt her career

A prominent Labour activist has said she was raped at a party event in 2011 and felt discouraged to report it as it could have damaged her career.

Bex Bailey, 25, a former member of the party's National Executive Committee, has called for an independent agency to be set up to deal with such issues.

Ms Bailey, who was 19 at the time of the Labour Party gathering, told BBC Radio Four's PM programme she did not get the support she needed when she reported the incident to a senior official two years later.

She said the Labour official warned her taking the matter further could be bad for her career.

Ms Bailey said the attack was not carried out by an MP, but by an individual more senior to her.

Asked if she had gone to the police, Ms Bailey said: "No, I didn't, for all the reasons that I think a lot of women don't report this. I was scared, I felt ashamed, I know that the Labour Party, like any family, loves a good gossip and I didn't want people to know, and I also was worried that I wouldn't be believed if I did. So, no I didn't.

"It took me a while to summon up the courage to tell anyone in the party. But, when I did, I told a senior member of staff, who told me, it was suggested to me that I not report it.

"I was told that if I did it might damage me, and that might be their genuine view, it might be that that was the case, in which case that shows that we have a serious problem in politics with this issue anyway."

Ed Miliband, who was Labour leader at the time of the alleged rape, said he was "shocked by the horrific allegations" and praised Ms Bailey for "showing great bravery and courage in speaking out".

Mr Miliband added: "Victims must be supported when they come forward. These allegations must be properly investigated by the police and the Labour Party."

A Labour spokesperson said: "The Labour Party takes these allegations extremely seriously. It takes great courage for victims of rape to come forward - and all support must and will be made available to them.

"We would strongly recommend that the police investigate the allegations of criminal actions that Bex Bailey has made.

"Labour will also launch an independent investigation into claims that a party employee acted improperly over these 2011 allegations."

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