An independent panel today upheld an allegation against Labour MP Liam Byrne and recommended he apologise and be suspended from the House of Commons for two days
Image: Rowan Griffiths)
A Labour MP is set to be suspended from the Commons for two days after an inquiry found he bullied a staff member.
Parliament’s Independent Expert Panel found Liam Byrne “abused his position of power” by “ostracising” a more junior colleague between March and July 2020.
The panel today recommended that Mr Byrne be suspended from the Commons for two days, apologise, and carry out training to address “the causes of his behaviour”.
It came after a “dispute” between Mr Byrne and David Barker, a staff member in his constituency office, that led the MP to send Mr Barker home.
The MP then ceased contact with Mr Barker for several months and denied him access to his Parliamentary IT account.
A Commissioner investigating the case concluded the MP showed “malicious behaviour that involved a significant misuse of power”.
A sub-panel concluded: “This case involves a serious breach of the Bullying and Harassment Policy which arose from the respondent abusing his position of power and ostracizing the complainant, who was his employee, by ceasing personal contact with him for several months and denying him access to his Parliamentary IT account.
“The impact of this behaviour was compounded by the fact that it occurred during the first period of lockdown when the complainant was physically separated from work colleagues, uncertain of his future work status and had undergone a period of ill health.”
The sub-panel said Mr Byrne “sought to present his actions as a reasonable HR strategy in response to this incident.
“We disagree. It was bullying.
“He should, as he now accepts, have tackled any misconduct through a proper disciplinary process not by ostracizing the complainant.”
This breaking news story is being updated.