Jacob Rees-Mogg tells MP facing suspension for sexual misconduct to resign
Jacob Rees-Mogg has told an MP facing suspension for sexual misconduct to resign.
The Leader of the House of Commons made the comments during a statement on the conduct of Delyn MP Rob Roberts.
Roberts was found to have breached Parliament’s sexual misconduct policy by the Independent Expert Panel, which recommended a six week suspension. MPs will vote on whether to impose the suspension later on today. The panel upheld complaints about his “repeated and unwanted” sexual advances.
Rees-Mogg said it would be “honourable for the member to stand down”, and added that “it’s frankly ridiculous” an MP could be more harshly sanctioned for misuse of stationery than sexual misconduct.
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.
The Leader of the House says he’s asked the chair of the Independent Expert Panel to help find a way forward but that he prefers a non legislative solution.
There have been calls for UK Government to introduce emergency legislation to close a loophole that is preventing a by-election Roberts’ seat.
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.
Roberts has lost the Conservative Whip but has faced no further sanction from the party. He repeatedly propositioned a male aide, arranging one-on-one dinners with him and telling him that he should be “less alluring”. He also invited a 21-year-old female intern to “fool around”.