Why Lord Stone has been suspended
Labour peer agrees to ‘bespoke training and behaviour coaching sessions’
A Labour peer has been suspended after the House of Lords standards committee found he had harassed four women and used transphobic language.
Lord Stone of Blackheath, former managing director of Marks & Spencer, also used the racial slur “n*****” numerous times in an official inquiry while defending himself against the accusations, says Sky News.
The House of Lords’ independent commissioner for standards, Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, upheld a number of complaints against Stone in a report published today.
The peer has since agreed to take part in a course of “bespoke training and behaviour coaching sessions”.
A Labour Lords spokesman said: “The chief whip has informed Lord Stone that he is suspended from the Labour peers group until further notice. Further discussions will be had with Andrew once he has completed the training and coaching recommended by the commissioner.”
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What is Lord Stone accused of?
In one complaint, Stone allegedly grabbed a woman’s arm while alone with her in a stairwell, saying: “Although it may be sexist to say so, you really do look beautiful.”
Another complaint described how Stone stroked a female staff member’s arm for “five to ten seconds” to thank her for a piece of work.
The same staff member said Stone’s behaviour with female colleagues was “a bit creepy”, and said he once joked to a young woman in the office that he hoped a document relating to the “upskirting” bill would contain photos, says The Guardian.
Two of the complainants had been working on a stall asking people to sign a pledge against homophobic, biphobic and transphobic behaviour. Stone signed the pledge, then returned with another man, saying: “He wants the operation. Is this where he signs up for the trans operation? He wants to be trans.”
What was his defence?
Lord Stone denied being transphobic and said the women had exaggerated his actions.
The commissioner’s report says that Lord Stone offered an “example of his sense of equality” when defending himself.
“I wouldn’t call somebody a ‘n*****’ in, like, in an aggressive way,” said Stone.
“But let us say I was at some meeting, which I often am, particularly in Israel with black people or whatever, I would say, ‘We are all n*****s.’ I am, what do you call it? ‘An honorary n*****’, yes.”
He continued: “People feel that if you are not trans or if you are not gay, or if you are not lesbian, then you are not part of that group and therefore you can’t speak in an open way. No, I feel I am part of that group. I am heterosexual. There are people who are gay, there are people who are lesbian and I feel there is no difference between all of us.”