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Source: Labour List UK

GMB national president Barbara Plant called for a “fully independent investigation into the serious allegations raised around the departure of our previous [general secretary]” on Thursday evening.

Three members of the shadow cabinet and seven senior GMB officials were accused of knowing about allegations against former head of the union Tim Roache in an anonymous letter sent to Plant last week.

Alluding to the nature of the allegations made anonymously against Roache, Plant said: “The safety of our people, particularly women, and the integrity of our union is paramount to me as GMB national president.”

Roache, who was first elected as GMB general secretary in 2015 and re-elected in November, resigned on Tuesday evening. The next day, GMB announced the launch of an investigation into his conduct while in post.

It has been reported by The Times that the 600,000-member party-affiliated trade union intends to appoint a QC to lead the inquiry.

The anonymous letter sent to Plant, signed by “GMB sisters”, has circulated on social media. It claims that several GMB officials and Labour MPs were aware of the accusations and “colluded in a cover up”.

The letter acknowledges that the senders “cannot vouch for the veracity” of the main accusation against Roache, but comments that “we do not consider it likely that an allegation this serious would have been invented”.

In a statement released on Wednesday, which announced the launch of an investigation, GMB confirmed that it received the anonymous letter last week.

The trade union also said the resignation of Roache was as a result of his diagnosis with myalgic encephalomyelitis, which saw him newly “advised to refrain completely from work”.

HuffPostUK has reported that allies of Lisa Johnson, the GMB’s director of external relations tipped for the Labour general secretary role, have told the publication that the letter “appeared to be deliberately aimed at implicating her in the controversy”.

Roache has strongly denied any wrongdoing when asked directly about the claims made against him. It is understood that the allegations have never been referred to the police.

John Phillips, GMB regional secretary for Wales and the South West, is now acting general secretary of GMB until a new general secretary is elected, with a contest to “be held as soon as practically possible”.

MIL OSI United Kingdom