Councillor quits party over “harassment” campaign

Councillor quits party over “harassment” campaign

By Michael Upton | 22/03/2021

Councillor quits party over “harassment” campaign

 

CHILD sex abuse whistleblower Jayne Senior has quit the Labour Party, citing “ceaseless harassment and intimidation”.

The Valley Ward councillor, who was investigated by Rotherham Council over her work with CSE survivors, said she had suffered “a systematic and longstanding campaign to undermine me as a person, as a Labour Councillor and as a long-standing member and supporter of the Labour party”.

In her resignation statement, Cllr Senior said: “Since shortly after my election as a Labour councillor in May 2016, I have been the subject of ceaseless harassment and intimidation.

“Since August 2016, if not before, I have been the target of malicious and vexatious investigations and data breaches which have compromised my personal security and those of my family and made us feel very unsafe.

“During this period of time, I have repeatedly asked but received no support from the leader of the council and this has led me to feel I have no alternative to resign from the Labour Party.

“I can confirm I will continue as a councillor, to represent the good people of Rotherham who put their faith in me in 2016, until the local elections for a new council.”

Cllr Senior made national headlines with her part in lifting the lid on the Rotherham child sex abuse scandal and was awarded the MBE.

The former head of the Risky Business youth project is now chief executive of Swinton Lock Activity Centre, a support hub for CSE victims and survivors.

In 2016, RMBC launched an investigation into Cllr Senior and the centre after receiving complaints from CSE survivors regarding bad practice.

When the report was finally published three years later, three complaints about Cllr Senior and the charity were fully upheld, four partially upheld and two not upheld.

The report “partially upheld” complaints from Sammy Woodhouse and other survivors that the charity chief executive had shared confidential information and that she  abused her “position of power over vulnerable women for personal gain” — including her book, where there was reportedly misrepresentation of survivors’ stories.

It also found Cllr Senior had “misrepresented and potentially misused” information gained from her professional practice.

Swinton Lock’s trustees said they disagreed with many of the report’s findings.

The trustees Lock had earlier complained to the Local Government Ombudsman about how the council had conducted its inquiry and the amount of time it had taken.

The ombudsman upheld the complaints and ordered the council to apologise to Mrs Senior and the trustees in January 2018.

But Cllr Senior was forced to wait three months for her apology.

Cllr Senior is the second high-profile departure from Labour in recent months, following Cllr Ian Jones, who switched sides to join the Rotherham Democratic Party after falling out with Labour over the campaign against the reopening of Droppingwell tip.

RDP chairman Cllr Allen Cowles said her resignation “simply shows Labour as a bad apple… looks OK from the outside but when you bite into it you find it is rotten to the core”.

He added: “Surely others must have been aware and could have provided some support.”

Council leader Chris Read said: “Jayne’s contribution over the last decade has fundamentally changed Rotherham Council for the better.

“She has helped us create a local authority that stands up for the victims of child sexual exploitation.

“I am sorry that Jayne has decided to leave the Labour Party in her final weeks as a councillor. We wish her well for the future.

“I certainly have tried to support her, right up to emailing her last night before I heard of her resignation. But in my position, I must also respect due process.”

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