Labour MSP In Sex Assault Claim

5 November 2017, 08:37 | Updated: 5 November 2017, 08:39

Monica Lennon

An MSP has said she was sexually assaulted by a senior male colleague at a party.

Monica Lennon told the Sunday Mail she was groped at a social event four years ago in front of a room full of people.

Ms Lennon, 36, is the most senior UK politician to claim she has been a victim of a sexual assault since the scandal began to emerge in the last fortnight.

She told the newspaper: "It happened at a Labour Party social event in 2013, before I was an MSP. It was a private function, a room full of people.

"A man, who was a senior figure in the party, touched me in a manner that some would say is 'handsy'. He was sitting next to me when he groped me, in full view of other people.

"I don't want to go into the full details but he touched my body, in an intimate way, without invitation or permission. This shouldn't happen to anyone.

"It's possible at least half a dozen people saw exactly what happened.

"One man, who at the time was a Labour politician, joked to everyone in earshot, 'That's your fault for coming over here and getting him all excited'.

"A few days later I ran into another man who had seen what happened and he made a jokey reference to it.

"The underlying message was clear, the whole thing was to be treated as a joke."

Ms Lennon has become the third member of Labour to claim a lack of help, following Bex Bailey and Ava Etemadzadeh last week.

She also said that having made an initial complaint to the Scottish Labour Party, she decided not to progress with it because she felt she would not be believed.

Ms Lennon was a South Lanarkshire councillor when the alleged incident happened.

She was elected to Holyrood in 2016 and is now the party's spokeswoman on inequalities.

Ms Lennon told the newspaper she chose to speak out to highlight that sexism is rife in politics, not just at Westminster and Holyrood.