Baroness Jenny Jones: Peers defending Lord Lester 'denigrated' the victim accusing the peer of sexual harassment

Baroness Jenny Jones: Peers defending Lord Lester 'denigrated' the victim accusing the peer of sexual harassment

Friday, November 16, 2018

Green Party peer Baroness Jenny Jones has said that Peers who voted against the immediate suspension of a Lord accused of sexual harassment "denigrated" the victim. 

The Privilege and Conduct Committee recommended Lord Lester of Herne Hill be suspended until 2022 for propositioning and groping women’s rights campaigner Jasvinder Sanghera in 2006. 

Peers voted to send the case back to the committee on Thursday, saying they did not feel the case had been dealt with “natural justice and fairness.” 

Baroness Jones told talkRADIO's Matthew Wright: “I think it is absolutely appalling. 

“I sat there yesterday through the long debate and you would not believe the amount of victim-blaming and misogyny that came out from some of the people who were supporting the motion of not to suspend him.

“I think the people who stood up and defended him outrageously, in my view, denigrated the Commissioner who actually chaired the examination, and the victim.” 

 

'Archaic and arcane' 

The case will return to the Privileges and Conduct Committee after peers voted 101 to 78 to support the motion put forward by independent peer Lord Pannick.

Lord Pannick argued that the commissioner should have allowed witnesses to be cross-examined.

Baroness Jones acknowledged that, at times, the committee could seem “archaic, arcane and just plain weird”, but emphasised that Lord Lester had agreed to the committee’s procedures before the case began. 

“He accepted the procedures and so did the victim and it was yet only when the Committee turned against him that he made a complaint about the procedures,” Baroness Jones said. 

She said many of those defending Lord Lester were his friends, and had not viewed and did not want to view all of the evidence. 

Baroness Jones added: “I think the committee will find the same way again. 

“They were convinced by the evidence and that is good enough for me.”

Lord Lester has denied all allegations against him.

 

Reporting by Cormac Connelly-Smith