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A WOMEN’S rights campaigner who alleges she was sexually harassed and threatened by Lib Dem peer Lord Lester waived her anonymity today to urge other victims to speak out.
Jasvinder Sanghera lodged a complaint against Mr Lester, who is now facing the longest suspension in modern parliamentary history.
In her statement to the Lords privileges and conduct committee commissioner, Ms Sanghera said he had told her that if she slept with him he would make her a baroness ”within a year,” but if she refused he would ensure she never gained a seat in the Lords.
Ms Sanghera, a campaigner against forced marriage and founder of the charity Karma Nirvana, said she made the complaint to establish that what he did was “not acceptable or honourable.”
She said: “There needs to be a system in place that will give other victims the confidence to complain and to feel supported in doing so.”
Ms Sanghera was working with Mr Lester at the time of the passing of a parliamentary Bill and said his actions made her feel “physically sick,” but felt there was little she could do.
“I was acutely aware of the power imbalance. If I’d said anything, who would believe me?” she said.
Lodging a complaint this month, she said the rise of the #MeToo movement led her to hope that by speaking out, victims were “creating a climate” where people were more willing to listen.
Mr Lester has called the allegations “completely untrue.”
Peers will be voting tomorrow on whether to accept the committee’s recommendation that he should be suspended until June 2022 for offering Ms Sanghera “corrupt inducements to become his mistress.”
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