Outrage As Disgraced MP Suspended For Sexual Harassment Is Set To Return To The House Of Commons
A ‘disgraced’ former Tory MP is returning to the House of Commons after being suspended for sexual misconduct.
Rob Roberts had been serving as Conservative MP for Delyn when an an Independent Expert Panel ruled he’d breached parliament’s sexual harassment policy and abused his position.
The panel found he had made ‘repeated and unwanted sexual advances’ towards a male staff member, as well as making inappropriate comments of ‘a sexual nature and was overly intrusive about his personal life’.
Roberts, who was suspended for six weeks, has since cast his first vote on the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill as an Independent member. As per the Mirror Online, the Whips’ Office said, ‘Rob Roberts now sits as an Independent MP and his actions are his own.’
Roberts earlier apologised for his behaviour, describing it as a ‘breach of trust’ that was ‘completely improper and should not have happened’ – however, he denied any accusations of ‘repeated and unwanted sexual advances’.
‘I asked a male member of parliamentary staff to dinner in the hope of striking up a personal relationship,’ he explained.
While Jacob Rees-Mogg said it would be ‘honourable for a member to stand down’ after losing the whip ‘in a case of this severity’, a ‘loophole’ prevented him from facing a recall vote that could have seen his constituents vote him out. Both the Commons leader and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have claimed to be against the loophole, but it’s yet to be closed.
Thangam Debbonaire, shadow leader of the Commons, said, ‘Most people found to have sexually harassed their staff like Rob Roberts has been, would expect to lose their job. Because of a procedural anomaly, Rob Roberts’ constituents are not able to decide whether or not they want him to represent them anymore.’
‘The Tory Party has failed to deal with their MP’s behaviour and now we hear they are still propping him up. I’ve proposed a change which could sort this. The government could and should grant time for a debate and a vote,’ she said.
‘They cannot and will not say why they don’t believe this loophole should be fixed to ensure Rob Roberts’ constituents get to decide if they want him to lose his job. Yet again, it’s one rule for them and another for everyone else,’ Debbonaire added.
There were rumours of Conservative MPs warning Roberts to stay away from Westminster given the scandal that sparked his suspension, but he insisted, ‘No such request was made of me.’
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