Rape comments by borough MP's staff member put her in the firing line

By Neil Speight

6th Jan 2023 | Local News

THURROCK MP Jackie Doyle-Price has found herself at the centre of a storm after a member of her political staff was widely condemned for suggesting an alleged rape victim was 'likely' to be a prostitute.

Ms Doyle-Price has criticised her employee's comments but has come under fire from rivals, including Thurrock Labour Party's parliamentary candidate Jen Craft.

The controversy has erupted following comments from Shaun Slator, who is also a Conservative councillor on Bromley Council as well as working for Ms Doyle-Price in her parliamentary office.

It has been reported on national media that Mr Slator commented on an online news report in the News Shopper publication headlined "Woman raped in Plumstead Park in early hours".

In response, Cllr Slator is reported to have written: "More likely that it's a punter that didn't pay."

The comment brought immediate condemnation, including from Ms Doyle-Price who told the Daily Mirror: "I'm very disappointed with his comments. You will know that I'm probably one of the most outspoken campaigners against violence against women and girls.

"I am on record in Parliament as saying that I won't be happy until violence against female sex workers is taken as seriously as violence against young, pretty, middle-class women."

However, Ms Doyle-Price then found herself under fire after adding: "There's no question of me taking any action against him because he's entitled to articulate his own views in his own time.

"There is no breach of his employment conditions with me but he will know how disappointed I am with him."

Her critics say she should have dismissed Cllr Slator.

Jen Craft.

The repercussions have reverberated in Thurrock where Mrs Craft, appointed in October last year to oppose Ms Doyle-Price should she stand for a fourth time at the next general election, said: "Ms Doyle-Price says she's outspoken on the issue of Violence Against Women and Girls but how can anyone take her seriously when she refuses to take any action against one of her employees who trivialises rape and violence against women?

"I don't see how any woman in Thurrock could have any confidence approaching her for help if they've experienced violence or sexual assault knowing that they may end up talking to Mr Slater who dismisses these issues out of hand"

Labour 's group leader on the Bromley authority, Simon Jeal, is equally angry and said he and the local party were "disgusted" by the remarks and called on the Tories to "publicly and unequivocally condemn Cllr Slator's comments."

Nub New understands other formal complaints have been laid locally against Cllr Slator.

In an interview with the Daily Mirror, Mr Slator defended his remarks, claiming: "I'm not promoting rape, am I?"

Asked if it was appropriate for a councillor to suggest an alleged rape victim was a prostitute, he insisted: "I said it was a possibility.

"I think if there is a problem with that and the police haven't been solving it for many years, I think that is a problem."

     

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