ONE Labor The MP has announced that she is taking time off from work due to the strain caused by what she said was “misogynistic abuse and harassment” associated with efforts to get her to seek formal re-election to her seat.
IN a declaration posted on Twitter, Apsana Begum, MP for Poplar and Limehouse in East London since 2019, said she had had to go to hospital on June 12 and had since been on sick leave by a GP.
She said her office staff would continue with the constituency work, adding, “I want to see you all when I’m better.”
She wrote: “Throughout my time as a Member of Parliament, I have been subjected to an ongoing campaign of misogyny and harassment.” This had been “particularly painful and difficult” as she is a survivor of domestic abuse, Begum added.
“This violent campaign has had a significant impact on my mental and physical health,” she said.
This meant that she could no longer participate in a trigger vote process – a Labor procedure in which local parties and affiliated groups decide whether a sitting MP should participate in the next parliamentary election by default, or whether the constituency should have a full re-election process.
The pressure for a trigger vote in Poplar and Limehouse has reportedly seen local members complain to the party headquarters about how it has been conducted, with complaints of disturbance and intimidation and harassment of women.
In her statement, Begum made it clear that she felt the party could have done more to help her: “I am very concerned about the broader circumstances surrounding the release process.
“This has included complaints of alleged violations and alleged misogyny. It is crucial that the party investigates these complaints properly and takes appropriate action.
“If the Labor Party is to be the party of equality, it must do everything it can to ensure that such behavior is never tolerated.”
Begum’s past experience of domestic abuse emerged when she was acquitted last year’s fraud for allegedly withholding information about her circumstances in order to obtain public housing.
Tower Hamlet’s council said Begum had not notified her when she moved in with her partner. The MP said she had informed the council for tax purposes that she was in a difficult personal period due to family reasons and that her “controlling and coercive” partner Ehtashamul Haque had taken over her affairs.
In a statement after his acquittal, Begum said the case had caused her great distress.