UPDATED: Labour Party officials in northern Norway have announced more charges of sexual misconduct against ousted Labour politician Roger Ingebrigtsen. He reportedly has gone on sick leave, meanwhile, despite being well enough to travel to southern France with his family this week.
Ingebrigtsen was forced to resign as a candidate for a seat in Parliament from Troms County and as a state secretary in the Trade Ministry, after admitting to having a sexual relationship in 2004 with a 17-year-old party member when he was 37. This week he also faced being stripped of local political posts after another female party member accused him of sexual harassment at a party meeting in 2009. He gave up all party representation in Tromsø on Thursday.
The sex scandal involving Ingebrigtsen has severely disrupted the party’s nomination process for seats in parliament and now Ingebrigtsen’s main rival, Martin Henriksen, also faces withdrawal form the nominations list because of charges that he stood to benefit from Ingebrigtsen’s resignation. Henriksen’s live-in partner, Tonje Brenna, who works for Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, was the one who reported Ingebrigtsen’s affair with the 17-year-old to party officials last week.
The scandal has also cut into Labour’s popularity among voters in Tromso, with recent public opinion polls showing a decline in support. “Many are very depressed,” the party’s county leader, Bjørn Inge Mo, told newspaper Aftenposten.