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Exiled Labor MP Will Fowles says he won’t attend parliamentary sittings until the conclusion of an investigation into a serious assault allegation levelled against him.
The member for Ringwood says he will continue to work in his electorate and make “representations” on behalf of constituents.
Lower house MP Will Fowles, who was booted to the crossbench last month, has denied an assault allegation against him.Credit: AAP
State parliament is due to return from the spring break on Tuesday, marking Jacinta Allan’s first sitting week as premier.
Allan’s predecessor, Daniel Andrews, sought and received Fowles’ resignation from the parliamentary Labor Party in early August after his office was informed of serious assault allegations made by a government employee.
Fowles has strenuously denied any wrongdoing.
“It is now eight weeks since the former premier referred an allegation to Victoria Police,” Fowles said in a statement on Saturday.
“I have not been spoken to by anyone regarding this false allegation. I have written to the Speaker today, advising her that I will not be attending parliamentary sitting days until such time as any investigation concludes.”
However, Fowles insisted that he was not taking a leave of absence.
“I’ll continue to work in my electorate and make representations on behalf of my constituents, whose many messages of support I have gratefully received.”
A Victoria Police spokeswoman declined to say whether officers had spoken to Fowles. The spokeswoman would only confirm that an investigation had begun.
“Detectives from the sexual crimes squad are investigating following a report of an incident in the Melbourne CBD,” she said. “Given the sensitive nature of this incident and now that it is subject to active investigation, we will not be providing any further commentary on the matter.”
If Fowles returns to parliament, he will be forced to sit on the crossbench unless he is brought back into the parliamentary Labor Party.
Two Labor MPs, speaking to The Age on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters, also confirmed Fowles’ parliamentary office had been moved out of the Spring Street annex, away from the offices of his former colleagues.
Fowles was recently replaced as the chair of the electoral matters committee, which is considering reforms to upper house voting, political donations, the performance of the Victorian Electoral Commission and behaviour at polling booths.
The state government was contacted for comment.
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