Delyn MP Rob Roberts plans to return to House of Commons in person today – according to reports…
Delyn MP Rob Roberts plans to return to the Commons chamber in person on Wednesday according to reports.
In an article by The Daily Mirror’s Political Editor Dan Bloom, the disgraced politician is said to have “confirmed that he intended to return to Parliament physically.”
The Mirror article goes on to say that “Conservative sources insist the MP, who has lost the party whip, was advised to stay away from Westminster.”
But Mr Roberts has denied this, telling The Mirror: “No such request was made of me”.
Commons business papers confirm Mr Roberts is due to appear “physically”, not virtually, in a debate on the Health and Care Bill.
The Independent MP is also listed as a Conservative.Mr Roberts cast his first vote as an Independent MP on Monday following a six-week suspension for sexual harassment.
Conservative counterpart Stuart Andrew, Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Commons, cast a proxy vote for the Delyn member.
Mr Roberts was the Conservative MP for Delyn when an Independent Expert Panel (IEP) found he breached parliament’s sexual harassment policy.
The IEP found he had made repeated and unwanted sexual advances towards a young male staff member, he also made inappropriate comments of “a sexual nature and was overly intrusive about his personal life.”
The IEP recommended Mr Roberts should serve a six-week suspension from the House of Commons as a result of the breach.
The whip was withdrawn leaving him an Independent MP.
A suspension of more than ten days would usually result in a recall petition and a by-election if enough constituents wanted one.
However, recommendations from the IEP panel do not lead to such contests, something which has been described as a “loophole”.
Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg said it would be “honourable for a member to stand down” after losing the whip “in a case of this severity.”
But Mr Roberts has ignored calls to resign and will retake his seat in Parliament.
Thangam Debbonaire MP, Labour’s Shadow Leader of the Commons, commenting on Rob Roberts’ planned return to Parliament, said:
“Most people found to have sexually harassed their staff would expect to lose their job.
“But because of a procedural anomaly and the Conservatives’ refusal to act, Rob Roberts’ constituents are being denied the chance to decide whether or not they want him as their MP.”
“Labour has proposed a change to close this loophole but the Government is inexplicably blocking it. Yet again, they seem to think it is one rule for them and another for everyone else.”
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