Conservative MP Rob Roberts Allowed to Join Party After Sexually Harassing Staff Member | Preservatives
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A disgraced Tory MP will be allowed to join the party on Monday, despite an independent investigation finding he sexually harassed a junior staff member.
Rob Roberts, who represents Delyn in North Wales, will end a 12-week Tory suspension and have his membership reinstated, the party has confirmed. However, he will not reinstate the Conservative Whip in the House of Commons, so he will continue to sit as an independent Member of Parliament.
Earlier this year, Roberts was suspended from Parliament for six weeks after he was recognized by an independent panel for making repeated and unwanted “significant” sexual advances to a former staff member and for using “his position. employer to put pressure on him to join ”.
There had been a discussion about whether Roberts could be the subject of a possible recall vote, in which voters have the option to force a by-election if their representative is suspended by Parliament for an extended period. However, as Roberts appealed the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner’s initial verdict to an external panel, it turned out that his sentence was not covered by revocation legislation.
Earlier this month, the government closed that loophole for future cases, while voting against a Labor Party motion to make the change retrospective.
House of Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg, who called on Roberts to do the “honorable” thing and resign as a Member of Parliament, argued that retroactive punishment would run counter to the principle that he there should be no imposition of a sanction “which was not available at the time a given case was determined”.
The independent report found that Roberts had accepted that “aspects of his behavior” towards the staff member were “inappropriate” and offered to apologize – but he “rejected the categorization of his conduct as” sexual “, preferring the term “romantic” ”.
Subsequent attempts to persuade the staff member to go out for a drink with him “were nothing more than an attempt to reestablish their professional working relationship,” the MP said.
Roberts has been the first Tory MP elected for Delwyn – which includes the towns of Flint and Mostyn – since 1987, winning an unexpected majority of 865 votes over longtime Labor MP David Hanson in the last general election.
Unless he changes his mind and chooses to step down on his own terms, Roberts will be free to remain an MP until the next national vote.
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