MP Rob Roberts Suspended From Conservative Party Over Sexual Harassment Complaints
He has now been suspended as a member of the Conservatives for 12 weeks (Parliament.tv)
Disgraced Tory MP Rob Roberts has been temporarily suspended from the Conservative Party after an independent panel found he sexually harassed a member of his staff.
The Delyn MP was previously suspended from the Commons for six weeks and lost the Tory party whip in the wake of the report into his misconduct, meaning he now sits as an independent Member.
According to the BBC, he has now been suspended as a member of the Conservatives for 12 weeks from 9 August.
Roberts reportedly did not appeal against the suspension, which will expire on 1 November 2021.
A report by Parliament's Independent Expert Panel earlier this year found that Roberts had “made repeated and unwanted sexual advances” towards a member of his staff, and had made “inappropriate comments of a sexual nature”.
It is one of the first cases to be judged by the panel appointed to look at bullying and harassment cases last November.
The MP acknowledged during an investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone that “aspects of his behaviour… were inappropriate” and offered the man an apology.
But he rejected the categorisation of his conduct as “sexual”, preferring the term “romantic”, and denied making repeated advances.
The commissioner concluded that Roberts’ “abuse of power/authority and his lack of insight in respect to his conduct and his understanding of appropriate boundaries in the workplace were aggravating factors” in the case.
He was suspended from the Commons for six weeks on the Panel’s recommendations, but this has now ended.
Roberts’ case has attracted controversy as — despite losing the whip and being suspended from the Commons — he does face the prospect of a by-election as his case does not apply under the Recall of MPs Act 2015.
The recall process cannot be triggered by a punishment imposed on the IEP’s recommendation as it did not exist when the law was passed.
A Conservative Party spokesperson said: "The Conservative Party expects its members to behave in a manner fit for public life and Rob Roberts behaviour fell below the standards expected of him."
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