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Six week suspension recommended for Tory MP for sexual misconduct

25 May 2021 3 minutes Read
Rob Roberts. Picture by David Woolfall (CC BY 3.0).

A six week suspension from Parliament has been recommended for a Tory MP for a breach of sexual misconduct policy.

The Independent Expert Panel (IEP) has today published their report about the conduct of Rob Roberts, the MP for Delyn.

The move could eventually lead to a by-election in his constituency. The Tory MP beat Labour’s David Hanson at the 2019 General election by 865 votes in the hyper-marginal so called ‘Red Wall’ seat.

An investigation was launched after a complaint was made under the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme of the House of Commons.

The reporter of the complaint alleged that there had been breaches of Parliament’s sexual misconduct policy, namely that during the brief period he worked for Rob Roberts, the MP made repeated and unwanted sexual advances towards the him, using his position as his employer to place him under pressure to accede.

Roberts also made inappropriate comments of a sexual nature and was overly intrusive about his personal life.

‘Breach’ 

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards found that the Roberts had acted in breach of Parliament’s sexual misconduct policy. He appealed the Commissioner’s decision and the case was referred to the Independent Expert Panel.

The Panel determined that Rob Roberts MP should be suspended from the House for six weeks. This decision was upheld on appeal. The suspension can only be imposed following a motion in the House of Commons by MPs.

If a suspension is for longer than 10 sitting days it could open a window for a Recall Petition, which could trigger a by-election.

Once a petition is open it is available for signing by constituents for six weeks. For a recall petition to be successful at least 10% of eligible registered voters need to sign it, and of the required number is not reached the petition fails and the MP remains in post.

However, if  the 10% threshold is reached the petition officer informs the Speaker of the House of Commons that it has been successful, at which point the seat becomes vacant. A by-election is then triggered and the recalled MP is allowed to stand as a candidate.

Stephen Irwin, Chair of the IEP has said: “The misconduct demonstrated here was significant. It is evident that Mr Roberts MP was in a very powerful position as an employer in relation to the reporter. Our conclusion is that the determination of six weeks suspension from the service of the House was proper and proportionate.”

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hdavies15
hdavies15
6 months ago

Any chance of a recall petition ? As I recall the past delinquent Tory M.P of Brecon and Radnor was made to contest a bi election because of his misdeeds. Could something similar be done by Delyn electorate ?

Mandi A
Mandi A
6 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Then they tried to bring him to YM as a candidate. He was rejected by the local Tory Party and somehow we got Virginia. Would love to see those emails / Whatsapp posts.

Pilchard
Pilchard
6 months ago

Because the suspension has come from a report from the independent panel and not from the House of Commons Committee on Standards, there is no mechanism for calling a recall petition and forcing a by-election under the Recall of MPs Act 2015, which requires a report from that particular committee as a condition for recall. A loophole in the law…

Paul
Paul
6 months ago
Reply to  Pilchard

Not quote a loophole in the law.
The recall act was passed in 2015, the panel which recommended the suspension was only created last year. It’s more a case of creating legislation in a hurry/people not amending existing legislation (i.e. the 2015 act) to take account of this new panel.

Mandi A
Mandi A
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul

So Delyn needs a good constitutional lawyer to act on their behalf. Is Elfyn Llwyd available these days? His law firm is only in Chester, someone write to him.

Steve PWH
Steve PWH
6 months ago

Pervert. How can anyone back this bloke or even argue on his behalf. If we are to stamp out bullying in all its forms start at the top. Show the rest of the country this Govt is one that wants to clean up the sleaze. My moneys on another carpet raiser.

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