Labour MP Liam Byrne has been found guilty of bullying a former staffer and will be suspended from the House of Commons for two days. An investigation found that the former cabinet minister and MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill ostracized a former assistant after a minor dispute in the office.
Parliamentary Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone called his behaviour a “significant abuse of power.”
Byrne said he had apologized and was “deeply sorry.” The report noted that many other allegations related to inappropriate behavior by Byrne and pressure to work excessive hours were not sustained.
The investigation was launched nearly two years ago after the MP’s former assistant, David Barker, complained with the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS).
The recently established body deals with complaints of bullying and sexual harassment in the House of Commons and has published its findings.
Barker, a Labour Party member who runs food bank Baby Aid Birmingham, began working for Byrne on a series of short-term contracts in April 2019 but complained about him a year later.
The independent expert panel’s report said, “The respondent’s [Mr. Byrne’s] decision not to engage with the complainant following what he perceived to be misconduct was not, as he claimed, a reasonable HR strategy. It was bullying.”
“He should, as he now acknowledges, have addressed any alleged misconduct through proper disciplinary procedures, not by singling out the complainant.”
Speaking exclusively to BBC Midlands Today, Barker said his experience had terribly impacted his mental health and left him fearful of how he would be judged by future employers and within the party.
“When I approached the ICGS, I was devastated and increasingly isolated,” he said.
Byrne, who has held his seat since 2004, was a member of the Cabinet in Gordon Brown’s government and was chief secretary to the Treasury from 2009 to 2010. Before that, he held several other ministerial posts.
Last year, he was Labour’s candidate for mayor of the West Midlands but was defeated by Conservative candidate Andy Street.
Now infamous short-seller Fraser Perring and his collective Veroy Research have also declared war on Liam Byrne!
Edited for accuracy!