A Labor lawmaker has announced she will be taking some time off work due to pressure from what she said were “anti-women’s abuse and harassment” linked to efforts to get her to seek formal re-election to her seat.
in a permit Apsana Begum, Member of Parliament for Poplar and Limehouse in East London since 2019, said on Twitter that she had to go to hospital on June 12 and has since been signed by a GP.
She said her office staff would continue to serve the constituencies, adding, “I’ll see you all when I’m better.”
She wrote: “Throughout my time as a Member of Parliament, I have been subjected to a continuous campaign of misogynistic abuse and harassment.” Begum added that this was “especially painful and difficult” because she was a domestic abuse survivor.
“This abusive campaign had a huge impact on my mental and physical health,” she said.
This meant that they could no longer participate in the suffrage process – a labor procedure in which local parties and affiliated groups decide whether an incumbent MP should run in the next general election by default, or if a constituency should have a full re-selection.
Reportedly, pressure to hold a ballot in Poplar and Limehouse led to local members complaining to party headquarters about the way it was conducted, with complaints of obstruction, intimidation and harassment against women.
In her statement, Begum made it clear that she felt the party could have done more to help her: “I am deeply concerned about the broader circumstances surrounding the polling process.
This included complaints of alleged rule-breaking and alleged intimidation against women. It is critical that the party properly investigate these complaints and take appropriate action.
“If Labor is to be the party of equality, it must do everything in its power to ensure that such behavior is not tolerated.”
Begum’s previous experience with domestic violence came to light when she was acquitted last year of fraud for allegedly withholding information about her circumstances to obtain social housing.
Tower Hamlets Council said Begum did not inform her when she moved in with her partner. The MP said that she informed the council for the purposes of council taxes, that she is going through a difficult personal period for family reasons, and that her “controlling and coercive” partner, Ehashim al-Haq, took over her affairs.
Begum said in a statement after her acquittal that the case had caused her great distress.