Norwich MP Clive Lewis categorically denies groping woman at Labour Party's 2017 conference
PUBLISHED: 10:31 04 November 2017 | UPDATED: 17:03 04 November 2017
Archant © 2017
Norwich South MP Clive Lewis has denied "100 per cent" claims that he groped a woman at the Labour Party's annual conference, insisting "I just don't do that".
Norwich South MP Clive Lewis has categorically denied claims that he groped a woman at the Labour Party’s annual conference.
Labour is investigating an official complaint that Mr Lewis squeezed the backside of the party member at the Momentum-organised World Transformed event which ran parallel to the official conference in Brighton in September.
The party member claimed the incident occurred in a room full of people when she met Mr Lewis MP for the first time.
But speaking to this paper on Friday night (November 3), Mr Lewis said: “I’m denying the allegation 100pc.
“I know how I roll, what I do and what I don’t do and I don’t grasp random strangers by the bottom and squeeze - I just don’t do that.
“They’ve come up to me, we’ve had a hug and they’ve said I’ve put my hand down and grabbed their bottom; no, no...I haven’t done that.”
Mr Lewis said he did not know whether the person was mistaken or not but insisted he would not have done that.
He added: “Hand on heart if I had genuinely done this I would say ‘I was wrong, I should not have done this’.
“But I am not apologising for what I haven’t done – I deny this 100pc. This is either mistake or someone not telling the truth. I did not or would not grasp a stranger’s bottom in a public place and grope it. It is not how I roll.
“I still think it is right – as painful as this process is for me and my wife right now – that people who interact with people with levels of power feel confident that they can come forward in a way that they know they will be treated with respect and their allegations will be acted upon.
“Unfortunately there will be cases like this one where people end up in the situation I am in. I am in a weird place – I think that this person is either wrong or lying. But I support that the process has to exist. I am not going to start saying ‘woe is me’. All I know is I did not do this.
“There will be a lot of MPs that feel vulnerable now these processes are in place. There may well be people who have a political axe to grind or make political capital who come forward. This will settle down but it is critical that people can make the complaint and it is dealt with properly.”
The woman has now made an official complaint and the party has confirmed that it is investigating.
The woman claimed the incident took place at the same event at which Mr Lewis was recorded saying “get on your knees, b****”, a remark he has apologised for.
When the video emerged online fellow MPs were quick to condemn Mr Lewis.
Mr Lewis issued an apology on Twitter: “I apologise unreservedly for the language I used at an event in Brighton last month. It was offensive and unacceptable.”
Speaking to the Independent the party member said: “We had a hug and while we were having a hug he gave my bum a big squeeze.”
The woman said that she had continued to talk to Mr Lewis and that she did not make a complaint immediately because while it came as a “shock” she did not feel initially upset.
She subsequently reconsidered.
A Labour Party spokesperson said: “The Labour Party is investigating a formal complaint made today against Clive Lewis.”
The claim comes after Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins was suspended following allegations of sexual harassment.