Shamed MP out of Soc Dem dog house

Ditched last year as finance minister for failing security check, Henrik Sass Larsen gains top post with Socialdemokraterne

After eight months in political exile, Henrik Sass Larsen was named as head of Socialdemokraterne's parliamentary group on Wednesday, indicating that the would-be finance minister who failed a security check is back in the party's good graces.

Larsen was once seen as a shoe-in to become finance minster in the new centre-left government. But he was forced to step down as his party's political spokesperson and withdraw his name from the short list of ministerial candidates in September, after PET informed the newly-elected prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt (Socialdemokraterne) that he was a security risk.

The reason given was that he had met once and exchanged two text messages with Torben Ohlsen-Jensen, the leader of the Bandidos biker gang. Ohlsen-Jensen was also acquainted with Larsen’s close friend, former Køge councillor Tommy Kamp.

Thorning-Schmidt said she was glad that Larsen was back in the game.

”We have worked together for many years and I hope to work together just as closely as we did before,” Thorning-Schmidt told Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

Members of the party and other political insiders speculated that Larsen was being brought back to the front lines to help the prime minister as she seeks to implement a series of reforms in the coming months.

Larsen said that it had been necessary for him to step back from the party leadership when the charges were levelled against him.

“When the case came up, I had no choice but to step back,” Larsen told Jyllands-Posten. “Now that the matter has been looked at and we are waiting to hear the outcome, I can get back to work.”

Larsen said he was confident that he would be cleared of any wrongdoing.

Thorning-Schmidt said she was hoping the party could now put the matter behind it.

“It happened seven months ago and Henrik has paid the price for it,” she told Jyllands-Posten. “I believe that Henrik will be a strong leader for us in parliament.”

When asked if she would consider Larsen for a seat in the cabinet in the future, Thorning-Schmidt deflected the question, saying that she was “incredibly happy” with her current cabinet.

Ohlsen-Jensen, the leader of the Bandidos biker gang that exchanged the text messages with Larsen, said that the politician still has his support.

“I just want to say to Henrik Larsen that, that no matter what happens, I have his back,” he told Jyllands-Posten.





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