Investigation launched into Tory MP accused of asking intern for ‘no strings fun’
Rob Roberts (Credit: House of Commons)
A party investigation has been launched into a Tory MP accused of asking an intern if she wanted to "fool around" and have "no strings fun".
Newly-elected Rob Roberts, who won his Delyn seat from Labour in 2019, propositioned the young woman in April, according to BBC Wales.
In a series of messages, it was reported Mr Roberts referred to the intern's "picture on Twitter earlier. Lovely legs", before suggesting she might want to "fool around with no strings, you might come and visit me in London".
The woman told the MP she was in "an awful state" and suffering with her mental health, to which he allegedly responded: "I was just thinking about fun times… Maybe if you thought of them too it might help you."
She later told the BBC the exchange made her feel "incredibly sick".
"I had had one of the worst days ever, and then I messaged him saying I'm crying, I'm not okay - and his solution to that was to proposition me," she added.
"I felt really vulnerable and I felt like I was being used to make him feel better about everything."
Mr Roberts, who said he had also been struggling with his mental health after revealing he was gay earlier this year, apologised for his conduct.
Labour and Lib Dem MPs have called for a full investigation into his behaviour, with Lib Dem acting leader Ed Davey tweeting: "The Conservative Party must immediately remove the whip while they investigate, or they risk sending the message that this is acceptable conduct for a sitting MP."
A Conservative Party spokesperson said: "An investigation into Rob Roberts MP’s conduct is ongoing.
"While Mr Roberts has apologised for his behaviour and has been undertaking safeguarding and social media protection training we are clear such conduct is completely unacceptable."
The conduct of MPs was brought into sharp focus in 2017, after a BBC investigation revealed widepsread bullying and harassment in Parliament, prompting a Government drive to tackle the "toxic culture".
A subsequent report into Westminster culture by Dame Laura Cox found: “Amongst current and former staff alike there is an obvious pride and affection for the House and its status.
"Working there is, for many, a privilege – whether as a member of House staff or as an elected Member of Parliament - and there is an expectation of loyalty to the institution they serve.
"But that sense of loyalty has been tested to breaking point by a culture, cascading from the top down, of deference, subservience, acquiescence and silence, in which bullying, harassment and sexual harassment have been able to thrive and have long been tolerated and concealed.”