Sex-pest Tory MP Rob Roberts faces six-week Commons ban for ‘unwanted sexual advances’ towards man

A sex-pest Tory PM is facing a six-week ban from Parliament for breaching sexual misconduct rules by making advances towards a man working in his office. 

Delyn MP Rob Roberts, 41, faces a suspension for making ‘repeated and unwanted sexual advances’ after an independent panel ruled against him. 

Mr Roberts had appealed the standards watchdog’s findings, offering to apologise but denying he had breached sexual misconduct rules.

He had the whip suspended by the Conservative Party this morning but his separate  Commons ban can only be imposed if agreed by MPs.

In the report, published today, he argued his behaviour –  which included asking the man out for a drink – had not been ‘sexual’ but was instead ‘romantic’.

But an Independent Expert Panel today found him guilty and recommended he serve a six-week suspension. 

And under Commons rules, because the suspension was imposed by the IEP and not the Standards Commissioner, he will escape the prospect of a recall petition that could see him booted out.

The disgraced MP apologised and said the ‘breach of trust’ was ‘completely improper and should not have happened’. 

Sir Stephen Irwin, chairman of the IEP has said: ‘The misconduct demonstrated here was significant.  

Delyn MP Rob Roberts, 41, faces a suspension for making 'repeated and unwanted sexual advances' towards the 21-year-old after an independent panel ruled against him.

Delyn MP Rob Roberts, 41, faces a suspension for making 'repeated and unwanted sexual advances' towards the 21-year-old after an independent panel ruled against him.

Delyn MP Rob Roberts, 41, faces a suspension for making ‘repeated and unwanted sexual advances’ towards the 21-year-old after an independent panel ruled against him.

The move will increase the pressure on Boris Johnson to take action against Mr Roberts, who was only elected at the last election in 2019.

The move will increase the pressure on Boris Johnson to take action against Mr Roberts, who was only elected at the last election in 2019.

The move will increase the pressure on Boris Johnson to take action against Mr Roberts, who was only elected at the last election in 2019.

‘It is evident that Mr Roberts MP was in a very powerful position as an employer in relation to the reporter. Our conclusion is that the determination of six weeks suspension from the service of the House was proper and proportionate.’ 

The MP’s former staff member who made the complaint told BBC Wales Mr Roberts repeatedly propositioned him and asked him to ‘be less alluring’.

The former employee said he had been left ‘uncomfortable’, ‘shocked’ and ‘horrified’ by the MP’s behaviour.

The complainant started working for the newly elected Mr Roberts in early 2020, and said the MP made his ‘first advance’ 10 days later.

The staffer, who wishes to remain anonymous, told BBC Wales they were alone in a car together on a constituency visit when Mr Roberts said: ‘I find you very attractive and alluring and I need you to make attempts to be less alluring in the office because it’s becoming very difficult for me.’

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.’ 

The move will increase the pressure on Boris Johnson to take firm action against Mr Roberts, who was only elected at the last election in 2019.

The Conservatives last month said he will not be kicked out of the party but will have to undergo training for his ‘unacceptable’ conduct towards a female parliamentary staffer.

In April last year he told the intern working in Parliament that she had ‘lovely legs’ and asked her not to ignore him ‘when I’m making you feel better’.

And he said that in future she might want to ‘fool around with no strings, you might come and visit me in London’. 

Despite the proposed suspension, Rob Roberts will not face the prospect of a by-election due to the sanction being set by the Independent Expert Panel rather than a Commons committee.

Labour Party chairwoman Anneliese Dodds said Mr Roberts should quit but added her party would support emergency legislation to change the law to address the anomaly.

‘The report fully upholds the sexual harassment allegations made against Rob Roberts MP. He should therefore resign his seat with immediate effect,’ she said.

‘That such serious and proven abuse doesn’t automatically result in the recall of a sitting Member of Parliament is both absurd and unjust.

‘The Conservative Government cannot dance around gaps in legislation if it is serious about upholding standards in public life.

‘That is why we expect the Government to take immediate action – Labour will support efforts to pass emergency legislation or measures to rectify this situation.’

And Garry Graham, deputy general secretary of the Prospect union, which represents workers in Parliament, added: ‘It is disappointing that the level of sanction that has been imposed on Rob Roberts is little more than a slap on the wrist. 

In any normal employment setting the facts established in the report would likely amount to gross misconduct and the perpetrator of those actions be dismissed.’

A Conservative Party spokeswoman said: ‘We would like to apologise to the individual concerned for the inappropriate and unwarranted treatment they were subjected to by someone in a position of authority.

‘There is no place for the behaviour they were subjected to and we praise their courage in coming forward.

‘In light of the outcome of the Standards investigation Rob Roberts MP has had the Conservative Party Whip suspended.’

Link hienalouca.com

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