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Labour's suspension of John Woodcock welcomed by Kurdish campaigners

KURDISH campaigners welcomed Labour’s suspension of John Woodcock yesterday as he faces an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment, claiming that it is not an isolated case of his inappropriate behaviour.

The Barrow & Furness MP questioned his suspension from Labour on Monday night over an allegation of sexual harassment, saying it was enacted at a “politically charged time.”

An outspoken opponent of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn within the party, Mr Woodcock said he did not accept the charge brought against him.

On Saturday the Daily Mirror reported that a former aide had made a complaint in November alleging that the MP had sent her inappropriate texts and emails between 2014 and 2016 after she had left her job. An investigation is pending.

Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign co-chair Rosa Gilbert said the group welcomes his suspension because of his critical comments about the Kurdish-Syrian defence force the YPG and his visits to the King of Saudi Arabia and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ms Gilbert said: “His now-deleted ‘handjob’ tweet was unbecoming of the office he holds.”

In reply to BBC journalist Nina Warhurst’s tweet about having to pay £12.60 for two pints and a packet of crisps in London last August, Mr Woodcock had replied: “To be fair I’ve paid that much in Barrow, but it does come with a hand job.”

Ms Gilbert said: “His willingness to propagandise for regimes based on the subjugation of women and sexual violence, including his defence of Turkey’s invasion of Afrin, which has paved the way for the kidnapping and mass rape of Yazidi women, betrays the very proud history of the British labour movement, that of international solidarity with women and men facing untold oppression.

“There must be no space in the party for sexual harassment and misogyny. It is vital too that Woodcock must not be allowed to further bring the party into disrepute.”

 

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