Victorian Labor MP Will Fowles questioned by police over Canberra hotel damage

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Newly elected state MP allegedly smashed a door at Canberra hotel after he was unable to retrieve his luggage

The Victorian Labor MP Will Fowles will take a leave of absence after smashing a door at a Canberra hotel.

Fowles had a dispute with staff at the Abode hotel in Kingston over access to his luggage, which allegedly resulted in a door being destroyed.

According to witness Kellie Sloane, Fowles went “into a rage” when he was unable to access his luggage at the hotel.

Fowles was reportedly trying to get access to his luggage to make a 9am flight back to Melbourne.

The photo posted on Twitter by Sloane, a former journalist, showed a door smashed through, with luggage behind it.

Police were called to the scene just before 8am, and Fowles was questioned.

Sloane said guests were kept from entering the hotel while police interviewed hotel management and Fowles.

Police prevented Sloane from taking photos of Fowles as he left the hotel, she said.

ACT police said in a statement that no charges had yet been laid over the incident.

“Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident in consultation with the business owners,” the statement said.

Fowles was flying back to Melbourne on Thursday morning.

When he arrived at Melbourne airport, Fowles told reporters he had made “a very bad mistake” and apologised “unreservedly” to his colleagues, constituents and family.

“This has been a very distressing morning, and I will make a further statement later today.”

In a statement issued on Thursday afternoon, Fowles said his behaviour was unacceptable and he was “deeply ashamed” of his actions.

“While there are reasons for it, there are no excuses,” he said.

“I have, for a long time, been dealing with addiction and other mental health issues. Medication I take was in my luggage, which was locked in a room that I was not able to access, as no staff were on site.”

Fowles said he will pay for the damages, and had recently undertaken a course of drug and alcohol counselling.

He said the trip was privately funded.

Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, is expected to give a statement later in the day.

Liberal MP Tim Smith has called on Andrews to answer questions on whether Fowles will be sacked from Labor caucus.

The first-term MP for Burwood won his seat when the Andrews government was re-elected in a landslide in 2018.

Nine newspapers reported that Fowles was in Canberra for the maiden speech of the federal Labor MP for Jagajaga, Kate Thwaites, on Wednesday morning. The ABC reported he was there for Victorian Labor senator Raff Ciccone’s first speech on Wednesday evening.

In June the Liberal party called for an investigation into claims staff were owed entitlements after the 2015 closure of a Rockhampton pub owned by Fowles.

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