The Green Party has launched an independent investigation into how a man – the father of a senior figure in the party – was allowed to remain working for the party while facing charges for serious sexual assault.
David Challenor, father of the party’s equalities spokesperson Aimee, was jailed for 22 years last week after being convicted of abusing and raping a 10-year-old girl.
He had been allowed to act as his daughter’s election agent in 2017 – despite having already been arrested.
The party announced on Friday afternoon that Aimee Challenor, 20, would be suspended until the investigation was completed.
She has said she was not aware of her father’s crimes but has stood down from the race to become Green Party deputy leader. “His crimes are abhorrent. Of that there is no uncertainty,” she said.
In a statement today, the party said: “Aimee Challenor has today been suspended on a no fault basis from the Green Party of England and Wales, following consideration by the relevant internal bodies of a number of complaints that have been made against her.
“In line with our procedures, the suspension will remain in place until the next meeting of the Green Party Regional Council, when it will be reviewed.
“An investigation will be conducted by an external agency into the circumstances and disclosures surrounding Aimee’s father being able to act as her election agent, while facing charges for serious sexual assault against a minor.
“The ‘no fault’ basis means that, at the time of suspension, no fault is assumed or should be inferred. Any assertion of fault or otherwise could be prejudicial to due process.
“The Green Party takes its safeguarding responsibilities and duties of care extremely seriously and is committed to learning any difficult lessons needed. As soon as the Terms of Reference for the independent investigation are agreed and the investigator appointed we will announce both publicly.
The party added: “Once the investigation is complete we will announce its conclusions and recommendations. Other than this, no further comment on the investigation will be made while it is active.”