House of Commons suspends MP for sexual misconduct
The House of Commons has suspended an MP for sexual misconduct after a motion was passed without a vote.
It backed the recommendation of the Independent Expert Panel, which found that Rob Roberts, who represents Delyn, had breach Parliament’s sexual misconduct policy.
The panel upheld complaints about his “repeated and unwanted” sexual advances.
The Leader of the House of Commons earlier Jacob Rees-Mogg told Roberts, who has lost the Conservative Whip, that he should resign.
As the suspension was recommended by the Independent Expert Panel, which is not a committee of the House, the Recall of MPs Act 2015 is not triggered.
This means there won’t be a by-election in the seat unless Roberts resigns. Suspensions of more than ten days usually trigger a recall petition and potentially a by-election if it is signed by enough voters in the constituency.
However, the panel that looked at the Roberts case was set up only last year, and the legislation covering recall rules was not amended to cover it.
UK Government to introduce emergency legislation to close a loophole that is preventing a by-election in the seat.
However, the Leader of the House says he prefers a non legislative solution, but says he’s asked the chair of the Independent Expert Panel to help find a way forward.
He told the House the publicity around the matter could have an impact on the willingness of future complaints to come forward, and acknowledged there have been concerns about the “discrepancy” between recall rules and complaints process.