The Labour Party has appointed Margaret Greenwood as acting Shadow Secretary for Work and Pensions, as it announced Debbie Abrahams has been stood down from the frontbench while the party investigates an “employment issue”.
In a statement, a Labour Party spokesperson said: “Debbie Abrahams has been stood down from her frontbench role while the Labour Party investigates an employment issue. Margaret Greenwood will act as Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions during this period.”
It is thought that the investigation surrounds complaints made against Abrahams, however, in a statement on the BBC, Abrahams has said she has been victim to "aggressive, intimidating and wholly unprofessional" treatment by "certain individuals in the leader's office" over the last 10 months.
"I have had no details about the complaint, who it is from, the process or timescales. I have not agreed to stand aside," she said in a statement. "I will fight this spurious claim and do not rule out taking legal action. My treatment in the last week has shown a bullying culture of the worst kind. As such I am making a formal complaint to both the Labour party and parliamentary authorities."
Since her appointment, Abrahams has criticised the government on a number of pension issues. She recently said the government is pressing ahead to increase the state pension age on a “flawed basis”. On the government’s Financial Guidance and Claims Bill, she also said there needed to be a “stronger nudge” on encouraging people to take financial guidance.
Greenwood is MP for Wirral West, first elected in May 2015, and has served as a shadow minister for work and pensions since October 2016. Current Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Esther McVey lost her seat to Greenwood in the May 2015 election but was re-elected as an MP in June 2017 in the Tatton seat. Greenwood is a former teacher and community activist.