Disgraced MP hopes to get the Tory whip restored amid Partygate fallout
A disgraced Conservative MP may have the party whip restored as the Prime Minister seeks to defend himself from a vote of no confidence, sources suggest.
An article in the Mail on Sunday reports that Boris Johnson is considering options to bolster his support in “what is increasingly seen as an inevitable confidence vote”.
Delyn MP Rob Roberts was stripped of the Conservative Party whip after an independent panel found he had sexually harassed a member of his staff.
According to the former member of staff, Mr Roberts had repeatedly propositioned him.
As a result, the staff member was left feeling “shocked” and “horrified”.
Mr Roberts insisted his actions were “romantic” rather than sexual but has apologised for his “completely improper” behaviour.
Mr Roberts, who was elected in 2019, ignored repeated calls for him to stand down since his behaviour came to light.
Back in May MPs approved a motion to suspend Mr Roberts from attending the House of Commons for six weeks which was in line with the recommendation of the independent panel.
The Conservative Party then decided to double the length of the suspension to 12 weeks.
Because he was suspended by an independent panel rather than a parliamentary committee it meant he was not subject to a recall position which could have triggered a byelection in Delyn.
The MOS reports that Mr Roberts texted former chief whip Mark Spencer asking to have the whip restored in order to back the Prime Minister in a confidence vote.
Mr Roberts has denied promising to back the Prime Minister in a confidence vote but confirmed that he had approached Mr Spencer last month asking for a meeting about restoring the whip
Speaking to the newspaper last night, Mr Robert’s said: “I have heard talk around the place that, often when there is a confidence vote, people who have had the whip withdrawn may get it restored” adding that MPs around the Lobby and the Commons Tea room had suggested this might be the case.
When asked if he would back the Prime Minister in a confidence vote, Mr Roberts said: “He has delivered a huge amount and continues to deliver, and I think it’s important to focus on those types of things that he does deliver for the country.”
A Downing Street source told the MOS there were no plans to restore the whip to Mr Roberts.
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