Rob Roberts: MP who sexually harassed staff readmitted to Conservative party
Rob Roberts has been given his Conservative Party membership back despite a warning the move would let the disgraced MP “off the hook” for sexually harassing a member of staff.
The Conservatives confirmed on Monday morning that Mr Roberts was a member again following his 12-week suspension.
The MP for Delyn in North Wales will continue to sit as an independent, since the Tories are still withholding the party whip in the House of Commons.
Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said on Monday that the end of Mr Roberts’ suspension was a “disgrace”, adding: “Rob Roberts has no place in parliament, politics or public life.”
Labour chair Anneliese Dodds described the move as “scandalous” and said he should have resigned. “That he is now set to return to the Conservative Party shows they’ve let him off the hook,” she added.
Mr Roberts was stripped of the whip after parliament’s Independent Expert Panel (IEP) found he broke the sexual misconduct policy by making repeated and unwanted advances to a man.
The former staff member who made the complaint in June last year told BBC Wales that the MP had repeatedly propositioned him, leaving him feeling “uncomfortable”, “shocked” and “horrified”.
Mr Roberts, who became an MP in 2019, apologised for the “completely improper” behaviour but insisted his actions were “romantic” rather than sexual.
The Commons approved a motion to suspend Mr Roberts from the House for six weeks in May, in line with the recommendation from the independent panel.
The Conservatives suspended him from the party for twice that duration, while senior figures including Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg urged Mr Roberts to do the “honourable” thing and stand down as an MP.
A loophole meant the MP was able to avoid a recall petition because the length suspension was recommended by the IEP, rather than a Commons committee.
Earlier in October the government closed the loophole for future cases, but voted down a motion from Labour to make the change retrospective.
A Tory Party spokeswoman said: “Rob Roberts’ membership suspension concluded on Monday November 1 after serving a 12-week suspension. The whip will remain suspended.”