Labour MP quits Westminster after watchdog upholds sexual misconduct allegations

Labour MP quits Westminster after watchdog upholds sexual misconduct allegations <i>(Image: Parliament)</i>
Labour MP quits Westminster after watchdog upholds sexual misconduct allegations (Image: Parliament)

A LABOUR MP is to stand down from Westminster after the Commons sleaze watchdog upheld two allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

In her report, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards said an invitation from Christian Matheson to a staff member to join him on a trip abroad “was sexually motivated, unwanted, and had placed the complainant under pressure and intimidated her.”

During a work event outside Parliament, the MP for the City of Chester also “linked arms with her; made personal comments about her appearance while looking at her suggestively; made her hold his hand as they left and insisted on accompanying her to her bus stop; and once there invited her back to his flat, kissed her twice on the forehead and attempted to kiss her on the mouth.”

The Commissioner “concluded that these were all unwanted and unwelcome sexual advances”.

A Labour spokesman said: “This is an incredibly serious case. There must be a zero tolerance for sexual harassment and the Labour party has acted immediately following the ICGS (Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme) findings.

“We will now select a candidate that the people of Chester can be proud to vote for.”

In a resignation statement posted online, Mr Matheson said: “I have today, with great sadness, tendered my resignation as Member of Parliament for the City of Chester.

“This follows publication of a report which had found me guilty of sexual misconduct.

“From the start, I accepted I had committed a minor breach of the code and had hoped that an honest and open approach would stand me in a fair light.

"This has proven not to be the case and I am dismayed that I have been found guilty of several allegations that I know to be untrue.

“Indeed my insistence on what I know to be true – that I had no sexual motivation in this matter – was held against me as a refusal to accept my guilt, and caused an increased sanction which I felt was disproportionate.

“Despite provable factual inaccuracies in the sanctions report, my appeal against sanction was not even considered, for the same reason.

“Therefore, I faced a suspension from the House of four weeks.

"Whilst I believe that this is an excessive and unfair penalty, I cannot challenge the process further.

"I believe that the honourable and right thing to do now is to resign my seat and seek to rebuild my life elsewhere. I would ask for privacy for my family.

"This matter has also caused a great toll on my health, requiring my hospitalisation, and I ask that my privacy is respected while I recover."