A Jewish peer has been suspended by the Labour party after a Lords misconduct commissioner found him guilty of sexual harassment.
Lord Andrew Stone of Blackheath, 77, a former managing director at Marks & Spencer, was accused of “unwelcome and inappropriate physical contact” and personal remarks about the appearance of female staff.
The Lords Commissioner for Standards, Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, upheld complaints from four different women made against the Labour Friends of Israel supporter between July and September this year.
Stone defended his behaviour by saying he was “naturally tactile” and asking if he was “expected to wear gloves”. He said it did not occur to him that women with whom he had no relations might not like being stroked by him.
He was ordered to attend “training and behaviour coaching” as Scott-Moncrieff paid tribute to the bravery of the victims in her report published on Wednesday, saying: “It has not been easy reading what Lord Stone said to them.”
Stone was made a life peer in 1997 and visited Israel last year, returning to tell fellow peers in September that he had visited Jewish companies in West Bank settlements and seen how they employed Palestinians as a “win-win”.
Stone is the second Jewish peer in a year to be publicly chastised for sexual harassment in the House of Lords, after 82-year old Liberal Democrat Lord Anthony Lester was suspended for four years after a misconduct committee found allegations against him to be credible.