Rodwell dropped out of standing for parliament in Labour safe seat last month after complaint about his conduct

Labour has confirmed that Barking & Dagenham council leader Darren Rodwell will not face any further investigation by the party after a recent allegation concerning his conduct.

Rodwell, who has been an outspoken Labour advocate for increased housebuilding, was widely expected to be the party’s candidate for the London constituency of Barking, a Labour safe seat in last week’s general election.

Darren Rodwell 01

However, he withdrew after a woman complained he had touched her hands and legs inappropriately at an event last month. 

Labour then won the seat with Nesil Caliskan, leader of Enfield Council, as its candidate. 

Yesterday, Rodwell issued a statement saying the allegation against him had been dismissed, adding it had been part of a smear campaign to discredit his candidacy. 

“The Labour Party has confirmed it has dismissed an allegation concerning my personal conduct, which was made last month,” he said.

Labour declined to comment but confirmed to Building that the case was looked into at the time and that it was decided that no further action would be taken, with no active investigation ever taking place.

Building understands that Rodwell was first informed of this decision just days after MP nominations closed.

Rodwell continued: “While I am obviously relieved to put this incident behind me, it has been an incredibly stressful time, which has been particularly upsetting for my family who are still living with the consequences.  

“The timing of the complaint prevented me from standing as Labour’s candidate for Barking at last week’s General Election.  

“I do not believe this was a coincidence but a deliberate attempt to besmirch my name and reputation ahead of the close of nominations. 

“I was determined that nothing should stand in the way of a Labour victory at the General Election and therefore took the heartbreaking decision to withdraw my candidacy and with it the opportunity to represent the local community that means so much to me.  

“While I feel incredibly hurt, I am now focused on playing my part supporting the new Labour government in delivering the change the country desperately needs. 

“I am delighted to welcome the three new members of parliament and look forward to working alongside them as we seek to deliver on our ambition for this remarkable borough.” 

Rodwell was interviewed on Building’s Home Truths podcast last month, which is co-hosted by urban regeneration expert Jackie Sadek. 

After the Barking council leader’s statement was issued yesterday, Sadek came out in support. 

“Darren Rodwell should be given a signal role in sorting out the housing crisis - utilising local authority land and all the other tools at the public sector’s disposal,” she said.  

“He has a unique skill set. He has proven that he can deliver.” 

As leader of Barking & Dagenham Council, Rodwell has been credited with achieving the largest number of social or affordable housing starts in any London borough. He claims to have delivered 20% of all of the capital’s new starts for this tenure each year for the past five years.