Scottish Daily Mail

Opposition frontbench­er accused of sex assault on MP

As convicts are rebranded ‘persons of lived experience’…

- By Martin Beckford and Rebecca Camber

LABOUR was engulfed in a fresh sleaze scandal last night as it emerged that a female MP had accused a shadow minister of sexual assault.

The woman reported her senior parliament­ary colleague to police, alleging he had attacked her after a summer party. Yet last night it appeared that she had withdrawn her complaint while the man she accused remains on the opposition frontbench.

It comes amid a growing backlash against Labour over a separate case in which a staff member was allowed to keep his job after allegedly groping a woman 20 years his junior.

The two scandals will put Sir Keir Starmer under pressure to take tougher action against alleged sex pests.

In the new case, Tortoise Media reported that an unnamed female Labour MP claimed to have been sexually assaulted by a male colleague after a summer party in London in July 2021.

She is said to have told others and at

‘Wider pattern of behaviour’

least one other shadow minister was made aware of the incident. The woman was encouraged to make a formal complaint but felt his popularity would count against her, so no action was taken.

Recently she reported the alleged crime to the Metropolit­an Police as well as speaking to Labour whips about fears of a ‘wider pattern of behaviour’.

It is understood that police enquiries were only at an initial ‘assessment stage’ before the woman’s request to withdraw her complaint, and a formal investigat­ion was not launched. A Labour spokesman said: ‘In terms of the Labour Party process, it is a thorough, robust and independen­t process.’

Last night the Labour aide let off with a warning resigned from his job. A party spokesman said: ‘Two separate investigat­ions were carried out... He fully complied with both investigat­ions and the remedial action recommende­d. This individual has now left his position.’

NORMAN Stanley Fletcher, you have pleaded guilty to the charges brought before this court and it is now my duty to pronounce sentence. ‘You are an habitual person of lived experience, who accepts arrest as an occupation­al hazard and presumably accepts imprisonme­nt in the same casual manner. However, since the offences to which you have admitted guilt are all considered to be non-violent, I must pass the maximum term allowed. ‘You are free to go.’ Welcome to Porridge, 2023-style. According to the woke bureaucrat­s at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) criminals must no longer be called ‘convicts’.

Apparently, the term is deemed offensive. The correct way to describe them is ‘persons of lived experience’, even if that lived experience includes everything from armed robbery to murder.

Once they are released from jail, being called ‘convicts’ or ‘ex-cons’ could stigmatise the poor lambs for life. They should instead be referred to as ‘prison leavers’ — presumably to differenti­ate them from ‘prison remainers’.

What we’re seeing here is another blatant example of obstructiv­e Left-wing civil servants straining every sinew to defy the wishes of a democratic­ally-elected Conservati­ve Government.

Last year, the then Justice Secretary Robert Buckland scuppered MoJ plans to rebrand prisoners as ‘residents’, ‘service users’ or ‘supervised individual­s’.

BUT rather than accept defeat, the Blob has now hit back with ‘persons of lived experience’ — the current buzz-phrase of the hand-wringing Left, deployed increasing­ly to elevate the feelings of individual­s over harsh reality, or what used to be known as ‘the truth’. How long before prison officers like Mr Mackay and Mr Barrowclou­gh have to be called ‘carers’?

Over the years, this column has occasional­ly used Porridge as a device to highlight the rapidly evolving insanity of the so-called criminal ‘justice’ system. These days, it’s beyond parody.

Tony Blair won a landslide election victory promising to be ‘tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime’.

Today, that should read ‘soft on crime, soft on criminals’.

Repeat offenders are indulged time and again. Any excuse for not sending them to prison.

This mindset doesn’t just infect the Guardianis­tas who now monopolise the Home Office, the MoJ, the courts system, the DPP and the police. It’s even spread to what were once the highest reaches of the Tory Party, which used to be considered the staunch custodian of law and order.

This week, John Major made a speech to the Prison Reform Service, arguing for a reduction in the prison population.

He said those convicted of ‘nonviolent’ offences should receive non-custodial sentences, rather than being sent to jail.

Most of us would agree with that, if it prevented those who fail to pay the BBC licence, and confused women nicked for shopliftin­g, being banged up unnecessar­ily.

Major claimed that most of the 26,000 ‘non-violent’ prisoners — sorry, persons of lived experience — probably shouldn’t be behind bars.

But he failed to define exactly what he meant by ‘non-violent’. Just because a crime doesn’t involve physical violence, it doesn’t mean it’s any less serious.

Burglary doesn’t usually involve violence, but it is devastatin­g nonetheles­s. So is fraud. This week, we learned that scams are costing the country £2,300 a minute. People are having their life savings, investment­s and pensions stolen by online conmen.

Yesterday it was reported that of the £485 million defrauded in bank transfer scams last year, only half was reimbursed.

What’s the difference between cleaning out someone’s bank account over the internet and going across the cobbles with a sawn-off Purdey? It’s only a matter of degree.

And what about drug dealers peddling crack at school gates, or organised car theft gangs?

Is Major seriously suggesting that none of those responsibl­e for any of these crimes should be sent to prison, just because nobody got bashed over the head?

Major has certainly changed his tune since he was Prime Minister. Back in 1993, he was fully behind his Home Secretary Michael Howard, who declared ‘prison works’.

Howard was dead right. In the five years from 1988, the prison population was cut by 10 per cent — and crime rocketed to all-time high levels.

After 1993, the number of criminals being sent to jail rose 45 per cent. And crimes fell from 19.1 million to 12.06 million in 2001, when ‘tough on crime’ Labour ripped up Howard’s hardline ‘prison works’ policy. It’s been downhill ever since.

LENIENCY, however well-intentione­d, has backfired frequently. The courts are regularly called upon to deal with those who have re-offended after being given non-custodial sentences. If they had been incarcerat­ed earlier, they would not have been free to rob, rape and kill subsequent­ly.

The fictional norman Stanley Fletcher wasn’t a violent offender. His crimes ranged from a bit of light breaking and entering to stealing a lorry. But he accepted his punishment and eventually learned his lesson.

The sequel to Porridge was called Going Straight, with chastened ‘prison leaver’ Fletch trying to earn an honest living for the first time in his life.

If he’d been given a series of non-custodial sentences from the off, would he ever have gone straight? Unlikely.

But in 2023, if Johnny Major and the wokerati who run the Ministry of Justice had their way, practicall­y no one would be doing Porridge.

These days the only television dramas set behind bars feature sympatheti­c portrayals of wronglycon­victed victims suffering terrible miscarriag­es of justice.

Any scriptwrit­er who suggested to the BBC that they make a prison-based comedy featuring criminals who actually deserved to be in jail would be laughed out of court.

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