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Barking and Dagenham leader Rodwell dropped after sexual allegations and other misconduct matters surface

Darren Rodwell

Barking council leader Darren Rodwell has been removed from the list of election candidates being approved today by Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC).

An internal process into allegations concerning Mr Rodwell is underway, the BBC understands.

The NEC will likely make a decision over who will be Labour’s candidate in the seat in the next 48 hours.

As the BBC reported on Monday, In 2022, Mr Rodwell said he asked police not to respond if they were contacted by a resident he was planning to confront at their home.

He also claimed he used official systems to find the address of the person who had threatened him online.

Darren Rodwell said the incident in 2022 was prompted by the setting up of a Facebook page which aimed “to have me taken out”.

A few weeks later, he told the legal firm Mishcon De Reya’s “Property She” podcast: “I approached the police and they said: ‘Oh there’s nothing we can do, it’s not a direct threat.’”

“I found out where the person lived because you know I have the ways and means so, I used them.

“And so I phoned, or my office phoned the police up and said the leader wants to let you know, don’t worry if you get a phone call from this address.

“But it’s only him going round there asking why they think they could do a [Facebook] page to have him taken out.”

Cllr Rodwell also recounted how, in a separate incident, he chased two men down the street with a baseball bat after they attacked his home.

The Data Protection Act means there are strict rules for how personal details like addresses can be obtained, including within local government.

Cllr Rodwell, Labour and the Metropolitan Police all declined to comment on the claims.

Responding to separate allegations in the Independent, which the BBC has been unable to verify, Mr Rodwell said he utterly refuted them and was seeking legal advice.

Sexual Harassment

Councillor Darren Rodwell, the leader of Barking and Dagenham Council and Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Barking, has been accused of “inappropriate touching” of an attendee at an event last month.

The Independent has seen the details of the allegations made to Labour’s complaints unit by a party member on Friday. It comes after another Labour MP was suspended from the party last week after a complaint about his behaviour.

Mr Rodwell’s alleged victim said she met him for a coffee while at an event, believing the meeting was set up to discuss a development in Barking.

In the communication to the party, the complainant said: “After 10 to 15 minutes, he started asking personal questions which I was not happy to answer. He was ordering more drinks for himself.

“As I was obviously not happy to be present and was looking for a way to leave, he started touching my hands and legs in a sexual way.

“He clearly had other ideas about the meeting. He touched my legs and body inappropriately and I’ve made it clear to him that I did not want him to touch me and left the meeting immediately.”

The complaint file reads: ”The complainant has received confirmation that an investigator will be contacting her in regards to the allegations.”

Labour has declined to comment on what it calls an ongoing disciplinary matter, however, the allegation now raises questions over whether Mr Rodwell will still be allowed to stand in the election.

Last week, former Brighton Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle was suspended by the party over “historic allegations” and prevented from standing as a candidate.

In a statement responding to the allegation, Mr Rodwell said: “Allegations regarding my behaviour have been made to the Labour Party Complaints Unit.

“I utterly refute what is being said, specifically: I have not engaged in sexual harassment of any kind; I did not indulge in ‘inappropriate touching’ of an attendee at an event last month; I have no recollection of meeting someone for a coffee to discuss development in Barking; there is no evidence of any such meeting in my diary; likewise, I have no recollection of asking personal questions.

He went on: “It’s not clear what drinks I was ordering, but for the record, I do not drink alcohol. It is inconceivable I would have touched someone’s hands, legs and body inappropriately

“I can only imagine that I am a victim of some sort of attempt to prevent me being selected as Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Barking. I am prepared to fully address this complaint, I am in process of consulting lawyers and I would ask it were expedited so my candidature can proceed.

“I believe the people of Barking deserve an MP who knows the constituency well and will properly look after and promote their interests. I look forward to serving them should I be successful.”

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