Female employee of disgraced Delyn MP Rob Roberts quits, becoming third staff member to leave
A female employee of disgraced Delyn MP Rob Roberts has quit, becoming the third member of staff to leave his Westminster office within the last 18 months, research by Nation.Cymru has found.
The woman, who had worked in his office since last September and was his longest-serving staff member, left Roberts’ team to work for another MP last month.
The latest departure from Roberts’ office, which was revealed in the updated version of the UK Parliament’s register of MPs’ staff, comes amid anger over his controversial readmission to Conservative after a 12-week suspension for sexually harassing a member of his team.
A former member of Roberts’ office told PoliticsHome: “It’s very concerning that even after a Parliamentary suspension, an individual who causes so much concern amongst young Tories and fellow MPs alike is allowed back into the party, giving him access to a wide range of people.”
The register of MPs’ staff shows Roberts’ first assistant lasted just four months in his office, while the second quit within five months. He has now lost his third staff member after a year.
The average length of service for an MP’s staff member is just over two years, according to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.
One staff member who started last October remains in post and Roberts has just hired his fifth member of staff since becoming an MP in December 2019.
Roberts offered the highest amount permitted by parliamentary authorities – between £36,575 and £52,067 – when recruiting for his latest member of staff, which the Spectator said reflected “that few now want to work for the Delyn backbencher, amid talk in Westminster of a ‘staffing crisis’ in his office.”
“It’s no wonder he is having difficulties hiring people – the more surprising thing is the fact that he’s still an MP,” a former member of Roberts’ staff told the magazine’s Steerpike column.
Nation.Cymru asked Rob Roberts for a comment but did not receive a reply.
Roberts was suspended from the Commons for six weeks after its independent expert standards panel found he had “made repeated, unwelcome sexual advances” towards a staff member.
He also invited a 21-year-old female intern to “fool around”, the BBC revealed last year.
The cases prompted MPs to change parliamentary the rules so members who are suspended for offences such as sexual harassment or bullying can face a recall position.
However, Roberts continues to sit as an independent MP because the UK Government refused to support an opposition proposal to apply the rules retroactively.
“It is wholly unacceptable that Mr Roberts should be able to exploit this legal loophole and remain in the House and continue to be paid by the public purse,” North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin said last week.
“Many people in Delyn – including my friends and family – are horrified that they are currently being represented by Roberts. He should go and go now.”
Roberts is clinging on to the job despite earlier this year defending the fire-and-rehire tactics used by some companies to slash workers’ wages and conditions as “part of an inherent flexibility that has to exist in the workplace.”
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