- Bex Bailey revealed the incident tonight to the BBC Radio 4 PM programme
- She said she was assaulted by someone ‘senior’ to her inside the Labour Party
- Bailey is a former member of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee
A prominent Labour activist tonight revealed she was raped at a party event in 2011 by a senior official but was advised not to report it for the sake of her career.
Bex Bailey, a former member of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee, told the BBC Radio 4 PM programme that she told party officials about the incident two years after it happened.
Ms Bailey said her attacker was not an MP but was someone who was senior to her.
In a statement, the Labour Party said it took Ms Bailey’s allegations ‘extremely seriously’ and announced an independent investigation into the incident.
Labour activists Bex Bailey (pictured in 2014) tonight revealed she was raped at a party event in 2011 by a senior official but was advised not to report it for the sake of her career
Ms Bailey’s revelation comes amid growing scandal around sexual harassment in and around the Palace of Westminster.
Forty Conservative MPs including six Cabinet ministers have been named on a dossier gathered by activists in relation to varying claims of inappropriate behaviour.
Ms Bailey, who waived her right to anonymity before speaking to PM, said she was 19 when she was ‘raped’.
She said: ‘I was seriously sexually assaulted at a Labour party event by – it wasn’t an MP – but someone who was more senior to me.
‘It took me a while – 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.’
Ms Bailey, who waived her right to anonymity before speaking to PM, said she was 19 when the incident happened
Ms Bailey said telling party bosses was a ‘horrible experience’ and was ‘not even given a cup of tea’ much less given proper support.
She said: ‘I wasn’t given good advice. I wasn’t given a procedure when I asked for it so that I could, sort of, see what would happen if I did report it and then make a decision.’
Ms Bailey said she did not report the incident to the police at the time.
She said: ‘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.’
Asked why it took two years to report it to the party, Ms Bailey said: ‘At first, I tried to just pretend hadn’t happened and just sort of shut away.
‘But it was only a couple of years later when I had summoned up the courage to do it that I did say to someone what had happened and just wasn’t given the support that I needed.’
Ms Bailey said she was speaking out publicly now, amid the growing Westminster scandal over harassment, to try and secure change for women in politics.
She said: ‘I’m doing it because it, for me personally, feels like the right thing to do and I really want to see the change that I’ve been fighting for for a long time now and that needs to happen.’
Ms Bailey spoke up for Jeremy Corbyn (pictured earlier this week) ‘taking forward’ the issue of harassment and speaking out against tolerance of abuse.
The activist said there should be an ‘independent agency’ where people can go to report allegations of harassment and assault.
Ms Bailey said: ‘So we need an independent agency that people can report these issues to as oppose to members of party staff so that they feel confident that they can report these difficult issues without feeling that they will be penalised.
‘And in terms of what that could look like you’re talking about a charity or body that is contracted to the Labour party to provide these services so that you as a woman trying to report this can contact them.
‘(You can) say what you’ve experienced and know that you’ll be believed, know that you’ll be looked after importantly and also they will be able to discuss with you whether you should take it to the police and whether if you do decide not to do that the route that you can go down with the party.
‘They could take your report and pass that on to the party if you decide to do that, and they could take the names out of it so that it’s anonymous.’
Ed Miliband, who was Labour leader at the time of the attack of Ms Bailey, tonight said he was ‘shocked by the horrific allegations’
Mr Miliband said the allegations must be properly investigated and victims must in future be supported when they come forward
Ms Bailey spoke up for Jeremy Corbyn ‘taking forward’ the issue of harassment and speaking out against tolerance of abuse.
She said: ‘I really hope that we’ll see some change and I’d love to work with them on that.
‘It’s something I obviously really care about and I’ve been fighting for for a long time and I just really hope that that all the horrible things that we’re seeing will at least result in some sort of change in our parties as well as in parliament.’
A Labour Party spokeswoman 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.’
Ed Miliband, who was Labour leader in 2011, tonight tweeted: ‘I am shocked by the horrific allegations on PM by Bex Bailey.
‘She is showing great bravery and courage in speaking out.
‘Victims must be supported when they come forward. These allegations must be properly investigated by the police and the Labour Party.’