The leader of Barking and Dagenham Council is no longer the Labour MP candidate in Barking.

Darren Rodwell, who has led the council for almost a decade, had been chosen by the party as its candidate to replace Margaret Hodge in the safe Labour seat at the July 4 election.

But The Independent reported earlier this week that Mr Rodwell had been subject to a Labour party investigation over a sexual harassment allegation.

A day later, London Labour said that Nesil Caliskan, the leader of Enfield Council, had been selected to run in Barking.

In a statement reported by The Guardian, Mr Rodwell denied that there was an active investigation into his conduct. Labour sources have since confirmed this.  

But the council leader said he was withdrawing to “put family first” and to prevent the allegations becoming a “distraction”.

He added that he “completely refuted” claims made about him in the press.

According to these reports, a woman had alleged that Mr Rodwell touched her hands and legs in an inappropriate way.

Mr Rodwell has since deleted his campaign’s X account.

Ms Caliskan was chosen as the party’s candidate “in line with selection procedures”, Labour sources added.

She said: “I am delighted to be standing for Labour in Barking.

“With Keir Starmer at the helm, Labour is back in the service of working people."

Darren Rodwell's office has been approached for comment.