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8 May 2018updated 09 Jun 2021 10:18am

Debbie Abrahams sacked by Labour as shadow work and pensions secretary

An internal investigation upheld complaints that Abrahams had bullied party staff.

By Patrick Maguire

Labour has sacked Debbie Abrahams as shadow work and pensions secretary over allegations of workplace bullying. 

The MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth had been suspended from her shadow cabinet post in March, following complaints about her behaviour towards staff. 

Abrahams had rejected claims of misconduct as spurious but it emerged tonight that an internal investigation had upheld complaints that she had engaged in a pattern of bullying behaviour towards several Labour party staffers. 

It is understood that multiple complainants, supported by witnesses, came forward to allege they had been mistreated by Abrahams. 

A Labour spokesman said she had been referred to the disputes panel of the party’s ruling national executive for further investigation and formally dismissed from her shadow cabinet role. Abrahams refutes the allegations and has said she does not believe the investigation was fair or independent.

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“After a thorough investigation into allegations of workplace bullying, Debbie Abrahams has been referred to the NEC disputes committee. She has been relieved of her post as shadow work and pensions secretary,” the spokesman said. 

It is understood that Margaret Greenwood, the Wirral West MP who has occupied the DWP brief in a caretaker role since Abrahams was first removed from the shadow cabinet, will continue in the post, averting the need for a formal reshuffle. 

In a statement, Abrahams said: “I strongly refute the allegations of bullying made against me. I believe the investigation was not thorough, fair or independent. 

“I will continue to represent the people of Oldham East and Saddleworth, and to hold this government to account, from the back benches.”

Abrahams’ defiant response reflects longstanding tensions with the leader’s office. At the time of her initial suspension,  she denied the allegations “in the strongest possible terms” and claimed did not know what she had been accused of. 

She instead accused unnamed members of Jeremy Corbyn’s office of “a bullying culture of the worst kind” and “aggressive, intimidating and wholly unprofessional behaviour”. 

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