Another sex scandal-triggered by-election could be on the horizon, hot on the heels of Labour’s Hartlepool drubbing. Only this time it’s a sexting Tory whose political future hangs in the balance.
For I can reveal the parliamentary watchdog has concluded her probe into North Wales MP Rob ‘Randy’ Roberts and is poised to suspend him from the Commons.
To recap – in April last year, Roberts, 41, sent slobbering late-night texts to a 21-year-old intern. She felt ‘incredibly sick’ knowing he wanted to ‘fool around with no strings’ if she visited London.
I can reveal the parliamentary watchdog has concluded her probe into North Wales MP Rob ‘Randy’ Roberts and is poised to suspend him from the Commons. He is pictured above with Boris Johnson
The unwanted text exchange was also confusing because the intern knew the lubricious boss was married but also grappling with his sexuality – he left his wife and publicly came out a month later. ‘I might be gay but enjoy… fun times,’ he told the intern, even when she said she was struggling with her mental health.
On a separate occasion, Roberts made a male Commons staffer feel uncomfortable and reportedly change jobs after he asked him out. Both advances were made public last summer and prompted an investigation by the parliamentary standards commissioner.
Randy, however, is appealing against the decision to suspend him. Last night, the MP did not deny the looming suspension or appeal
Randy, however, is appealing against the decision to suspend him. Last night, the MP did not deny the looming suspension or appeal.
Tory sources say whatever his grounds for appeal, they are unlikely to land – not least because he has already apologised for his behaviour.
If, as expected, Roberts’ appeal is rejected, the suspension will be voted on by fellow MPs. And if confirmed, the big question would then be for how long.
Anything longer than ten sitting days could lead to a Recall Petition, a procedure which could trigger a by-election – and then possibly ‘hasta la vista, baby’ – if enough of his Delyn constituents sign up.
These latest revelations raise renewed questions over the Tory refusal to kick Roberts out of the party earlier. Despite an internal ruling that his conduct was ‘unacceptable’, the Tories chose to ‘strongly rebuke’ rather than remove the whip.
Roberts declined to comment on the observation of one unimpressed Tory MP who described him as someone who ‘can’t take no for an answer and sees it as a “come on” ’.
Labour sources, meanwhile, say they are on by-election standby for what would be a nail-biting contest as Roberts won the seat from Labour in 2019 with a majority of just 865. Fun times ahead.
Salty tales reach me from inside the fractious relics of the People’s Vote campaign. Sources say Roland Rudd, the former chair of the campaign whose ‘boardroom coup’ led to its collapse, has developed some interesting trade links with the EU.
His swimming pool in the country is said to be sloshing with salty water flown in from the Amalfi Coast.
Last night, Rudd fiercely denied the Italian connection, insisting friends and family at his country pile swim only in locally sourced salt water. A regular man of the people.
Could Labour’s Dawn Butler be in training to DJ at the party conference? Last year, she claimed expenses for a professional microphone and recording device costing £219.
The kit is usually marketed at pros mixing the platter and the chatter while recording DJ sets. Asked for an explanation, the MP turned her mic off.
Tip: However apt, Things Can Only Get Better should not be on DJ Dawn’s playlist.
Could Labour’s Dawn Butler be in training to DJ at the party conference? Last year, she claimed expenses for a professional microphone and recording device costing £219