image

Sexual harassment and assault

High-society harassment scandal in UK claims scalp of Labour peer who attended men-only Presidents Club event

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 January, 2018, 8:08am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 January, 2018, 8:08am

Labour peer Jonathan Mendelsohn has been effectively sacked from the party’s frontbench after he attended the men-only Presidents Club dinner, where “hostesses” were allegedly sexually harassed and groped.

A Labour spokesman said on Thursday: “[Labour leader] Jeremy Corbyn has this evening asked Lord Mendelsohn to step back from the frontbench as he attended the Presidents Club dinner, and he has agreed to do so.

“Lord Mendelsohn has previously made clear that he attended part of the dinner as president of a charity that received support from the event and he had no knowledge of an after-party.

“Lord Mendelsohn did not witness any of the appalling incidents described in reports and has unreservedly condemned such behaviour.”

British PM ‘appalled’ by exposé of harassment at charity dinner

A spokesperson for Corbyn said: “It’s right that Lord Mendelsohn has stepped down. The reports about this appalling event were deeply shocking and there can be no excuse for anyone’s attendance.”

The decision will increase pressure on Theresa May to take action over children and families minister Nadhim Zahawi, who was also a guest at the fundraiser.

Businessman David Meller quit his roles at the Department for Education and the Mayor’s Fund for London over his involvement in organising the event.

Earlier on Thursday, the prime minister said she was “appalled” by the FT reports of the event, telling the BBC: “I understand that Nadhim Zahawi left early from that particular event but, when I read the report of that event that took place, frankly, I was appalled.

How undercover female reporter brought down men-only London charity

“I thought that that sort of approach to women, that objectification of women, was something that we were leaving behind.”

Before the sacking of Mendelsohn, 51, a spokesperson said: “Lord Mendelsohn attended part of the dinner as president of a charity that received support from the event. Lord Mendelsohn did not see any of the appalling incidents described in the report but he unreservedly condemns such behaviour.”