Brendan Cox, widower of the late Labour MP Jo Cox, has stepped down from the charities he founded in the wake of his wife’s death following sexual harassment allegations.
“Last week I decided to step down from my public roles to face up to mistakes I made several years ago while at Save the Children,” he announced on Twitter.
“I apologise to people I offended or upset at the time. My actions were never malicious but they were at times inappropriate.
“I take responsibility for my actions and will hold myself to a higher standard in the future.”
Complaints of “inappropriate behaviour” by Cox were first revealed in 2015. The charity allegedly failed to undertake any “proper internal investigation” into the allegations, with his resignation precipitated by threats to go public rather than disciplinary proceedings.
“Several of the women complained about inappropriate behaviour by Brendan,” an insider told the Mail on Sunday.
“When the charity did nothing about it they threatened to make a huge fuss. Shortly afterwards it was announced that Brendan was leaving.”
Cox had denied any wrongdoing up to now, in an environment where the growing scandal at Oxfam has put an alleged cover-up culture at large NGOs under the spotlight.
Last week I decided to step down from my public roles to face up to mistakes I made several years ago while at Save the Children. I apologise to people I offended or upset at the time. My actions were never malicious but they were at times inappropriate.
— Brendan Cox (@MrBrendanCox) February 17, 2018
In a further statement, he said “I do acknowledge and understand that during my time at Save the Children I made mistakes”, but denied “allegations contained in the 2015 complaint to the police in Cambridge, Massachusetts”.
The details of his “mistakes” are not yet entirely clear, although he is alleged to have drunkenly grabbed a colleague by the throat outside a London bar, held her against a wall, and told her: “I want to fuck you.”
The Massachusetts incident — which Cox denied — is alleged to have taken place about a month later at a Harvard bar.
A senior U.S. official accused Cox of grabbing her by the hips, pulling her hair, and forcing his thumb into her mouth “in a sexual way”.
Labour MPs and left-liberal commentators have rallied around Cox, who was an adviser to Gordon Brown during his tenure as Prime Minister and is a supporter of the HOPE Not Hate group funded by billionaire financier George Soros.