Tory MP set to become party member again following sexual misconduct claims

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 (PA)
(PA)

A Tory MP who was suspended by the party over sexual misconduct claims is set to have his membership reinstated.

Conservative MP Rob Roberts faced a 12-week ban after he was accused of making “repeated and unwanted sexual advanced” towards a male member of parliamentary staff.

The report by the Independent Expert Panel claimed that Mr Roberts also made “inappropriate comments of a sexual nature” and was “overly intrusive” about his personal life.

But Mr Roberts, who is MP for Delyn in North Wales, is set to become a full-fledged party member again on Monday as his suspension has not been extended.

However, the party will not restore the Whip which was withdrawn from Roberts in May – meaning he will continue to serve as an independent MP.

Following the investigation into the harassment claims in May, chairman of the IEP Sir Stephen Irwin said the MP had demonstrated “significant” levels of misconduct.

He said: “It is evident that Mr Roberts MP was in a very powerful position in relation to the member of staff.

“Our conclusion is that the determination of six weeks suspension from the service of the House was proper and proportionate,” he added.

A former staff member who worked for the MP said it was concerning that he’s been allowed back into the party.

They 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.”

In a statement following the release of the report, the reporter of the allegations said he felt “relieved” and he welcomed the recommendation that Mr Roberts be suspended.

He added: “This has been a long process, and I am grateful to the Commissioner, the Investigator, and the members of the various panels for their considered approach in this case.

“I hope that the House will now reflect on the findings in the report, and take quick action to uphold the suspension.

Mr Roberts admitted at the time that he was in a “challenging place personally” and acted in a way that was “completely improper”.

Mr Roberts said: "In the first half of 2020, I was in a particularly challenging place personally and had taken the decision to leave my marriage of 15 years and come out as being gay.

"At around the same time, I asked a male member of Parliamentary staff to dinner in the hope of striking up a personal relationship. I recognise that this breach of trust in the MP-staff relationship was completely improper and should not have happened.

"I apologised at the time and do so again to the complainant but also to my colleagues, family and most importantly my constituents.

"I will continue to do my utmost to serve my constituency as I have over the past 18 months since my election, and this judgment will not alter my resolve to ensure that the people of Delyn get the assistance they need with pressing local issues.

"It is the greatest honour of my life to represent the constituency in which I grew up and have lived my whole life, and I will work tirelessly to restore any faith which has been lost by this ruling."

“I am pleased that this has shown the complaints procedure does work, and I hope it gives confidence to others to come forward.”

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