North Wales MP Rob Roberts, who is at the centre of a sexual misconduct scandal in parliament, would be "honourable" by standing down, according to Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the House of Commons.

An independent panel has recommended Roberts, the Conservative MP for Delyn, be suspended from parliament for six weeks after it concluded he had broken sexual misconduct rules when he engaged in "persistent sexual harassment" of the person who made the complaint against him.

Today, MPs voted to approve a motion confirming that six-week suspension for Roberts, who was first elected in the December 2019 General Election. He has also lost the Tory whip.

But since Monday, when the panel's report was published, opposition pressure has grown for the Delyn MP to resign.


Today, Commons leader Rees-Mogg, the Tory representative for North East Somerset, confirmed to MPs the government was looking at dealing with a loophole which prevents Roberts' constituents from forcing a by-election.

As reported by The National yesterday, the way recall laws are drawn up means Roberts cannot face the prospect of losing his seat.

“Following a case of this severity in which it would be honourable for a member to stand down after the withdrawal of the whip, we need to look at whether the process is striking the right balance between the defendants, protecting the confidentiality of the complainants and in ensuring consistent outcomes across different types of conduct case," Rees-Mogg told the Commons today.

“I can therefore confirm to the House that I have asked the chairman of the independent expert panel for his views on whether changes should be made to the current process to enable recall to be triggered.

“In my view, any changes in this regard should be made in the most straightforward way possible and my preference would therefore be for a non-legislative solution.”

Rees-Mogg reiterated that it was ultimately for the House of Commons to make a decision.

For Labour, shadow Commons leader, Thangam Debbonaire, said she had written to Mr Rees-Mogg to offer to work with him to “close the loophole urgently and seek solutions”.

She said: “I’d like to work with him to go further and quicker and I agree that there are non-legislative solutions, because in what other job could someone who has carried out sexual misconduct not face losing that job?

“There are workable solutions to what would be a stain on us all if the public sees someone who has carried out sexual misconduct keep their job in this place.”

Ms Debbonaire added that “ideally the member would do the honourable thing and resign forthwith.

“Process should not be a shield for unacceptable behaviour, if the member does not resign, he should be subject to recall and if he is not, we run the risk of appearing as if this House does not take sexual misconduct seriously which of course we do.”

In his reply, Rees-Mogg said: “It is frankly ridiculous that we have a higher sanction for somebody who uses a few envelopes incorrectly than for somebody who is involved in sexual misconduct.”

Additional reporting by PA.