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Man seeking to replace Laming faces sexist, fat-shaming claims

Politics

The Liberal National Party is reportedly probing alleged sexism and fat shaming comments by a pre-selection candidate for the Brisbane seat being vacated by federal MP Andrew Laming.

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Messages allegedly from Liberal Henry Pike, who’s vying for preselection in Bowman on Saturday, show him fat shaming women in a group chat.

The messages, written more than a decade ago, were published after a complaint by a female LNP member.

“(It) states quite clearly in the Bible that f****** a fat chick is a sin beyond redemption,” Pike wrote in a message, reported by Sky News on Thursday.

“I walked in on a scene of absolute sexual carnage … we had (someone) in bed with what could only be described as a small planet,” he allegedly wrote in another message.

“No-one would call me a small planet because I am fit and lean, I am like a champion greyhound.”

Pike is being backed in his pre-selection bid by federal Assistant Minister for Women Amanda Stoker.

He gave a statement to Sky News about the allegations.

“Twelve years ago I was part of a private group chat that doesn’t reflect the person I’ve grown to be,” Pike said.

“Like lots of men, I’m embarrassed about some of the things I said when I was younger and would never say today.”

AAP has sought comment from the LNP.

Saturday’s preselection ballot for Bowman follows Dr Laming’s foreshadowed resignation ahead of the next federal election.

Laming, 54, was accused of taking an unsolicited photograph of a woman bending over at work while her underwear was exposed.

He says police investigated and found no evidence of a criminal offence.

The MP also categorically denies allegations he harassed two women from his electorate over several years.

The prime minister ordered him to apologise to two women and had him undertake a short online empathy course.

Laming, whose vote gives the coalition government a one-seat majority in the lower house, has claimed he’s a victim of character assassinations and his conduct towards women has been misrepresented.

He also revealed he’s been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and attributed that to some of his behaviour towards women.

Last week, another three women made fresh allegations about the MP’s “creepy” behaviour making them feel uncomfortable. Laming has “comprehensively rejected” those allegations.

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