UK Politics

Growing number of MPs under scrutiny over conduct claims

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A number of MPs are being investigated over allegations about their past conduct towards women.

Ex-ministers Daniel Poulter and Stephen Crabb are among Tory MPs to be referred to internal party inquiries.

One cabinet minister, Sir Michael Fallon, has already resigned while others have denied claims against them and remain in office.

Labour has suspended two MPs and is separately investigating an ex-official's allegation of rape.

The parties have begun a series of investigations under newly constituted procedures into alleged inappropriate behaviour in response to a series of press reports in the last week.

Other cases have been referred to the Cabinet Office and, in one case so far, to the police.


The Conservatives

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Damian Green

The First Secretary of State, who is Theresa May's effective deputy, is being investigated by the Cabinet Office over claims he "fleetingly" touched a female journalist's knee during a meeting in a pub in 2015 and a year later sent her a "suggestive" text message after she was pictured wearing a corset in a newspaper.

Mr Green said any allegation that he made sexual advances to Kate Maltby was "untrue (and) deeply hurtful".

It has also been claimed that pornography was found on the Ashford MP's computer during a 2008 police investigation into Home Office leaks which led the police to search Mr Green's Commons office.

The ex-police officer who led the inquiry, Bob Quick, has said he will co-operate with the Cabinet Office probe.

Mr Green said the allegations were "false", describing them as "disreputable political smears" and "amount to little more than an unscrupulous character assassination".


Charlie Elphicke

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The MP for Dover has been suspended by his party after "serious allegations" against him were referred to the police. He says he is not aware of what the alleged claims are and denies any wrongdoing. He has said it is a "a denial of justice when people who have had allegations made against them, lose their job or their party whip without knowing what those allegations are".


Mark Garnier

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The international trade minister is being investigated by the Cabinet Office for a potential breach of ministerial rules after he admitted asking his secretary to buy sex toys. The MP for Wyre Forest also confirmed he called her "sugar tits", but said it did not amount to harassment. He has since apologised to his constituents but told the Kidderminster Shuttle that the remarks were reported out of context and did not amount to harassment.


Daniel Poulter

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The MP, who represents Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, has been referred to the Conservative Party disciplinary committee after allegations in the Sunday Times.

He said he "denied all allegations of misconduct or inappropriate behaviour and will vigorously defend himself against any such claims".

The Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen told the BBC that he had made a formal complaint to party officials about Mr Poulter in 2010 which was not acted upon.


Sir Michael Fallon

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The veteran Tory MP resigned as defence secretary on 1 November, saying his conduct "fell short" of the standards expected by the UK military.

It followed a claim that he put his hand on female journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer's knee back in 2003.

After his resignation, other claims have since emerged about his conduct, with journalist Jane Merrick disclosing that he tried to kiss her following a lunch in 2003.

And Andrea Leadsom, the leader of the House of Commons, is reported to have complained to Downing Street about "lewd" comments that Sir Michael is alleged to have made, which he denies, while they were both members of the Treasury select committee.

After he quit, Sir Michael - who is not under formal investigation - told the BBC that behaviour which had been "acceptable 15, 10 years ago is clearly not acceptable now".

The BBC understands Sir Michael did not feel that he could necessarily account for every encounter in a long ministerial career without being able to guarantee no more revelations would emerge.


Stephen Crabb

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The former Welsh secretary is being investigated by the Conservative Party over newspaper claims that he sent "explicit" text messages to a 19-year-old woman after he interviewed her for a job in 2013.

The MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire, who resigned from government last year amid reports that he had "sexted" another woman, has been referred to the party's disciplinary panel under the terms of its new code of conduct.


Daniel Kawczynski

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The MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham has been referred to the party's internal disciplinary committee following media reports, first broadcast by Channel 4 News, that he tried to set up a date between a visitor and a Commons researcher.

The MP told BBC Radio Shropshire there was no impropriety, saying he asked the woman to have coffee with a friend, she said no and that was the end of it. He has accused the media of a "febrile witch hunt".


Chris Pincher

Image copyright Conservative Party
Image caption Chris Pincher is the MP for Tamworth in Staffordshire

The MP for Tamworth has stepped down as a government whip and referred himself to police following allegations about his conduct in 2001 made by a party activist and reported by a Sunday newspaper.


Labour

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Kelvin Hopkins

The Luton North MP, 76, has been suspended after Labour activist Ava Etemadzadeh, 27, said he sent her inappropriate text messages and made inappropriate physical contact at a student event in 2014.

He says he "absolutely and categorically" denies the claims, describing instead what he said was a "brief, slight hug just before getting into my car".

Labour says Mr Hopkins was informally reprimanded about his behaviour in 2015 but the party faces questions about how he was briefly promoted in 2016 to the role of shadow culture secretary.


Jared O'Mara

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The Sheffield Hallam MP has had the party whip withdrawn and is being investigated for allegedly posting a series of misogynistic and homophobic messages on social media.

The 35-year-old apologised to Labour MPs for online remarks between 2002 and 2004, saying he had been on a "journey" since then.

He has denied some more recent claims, including making offensive remarks to a woman he met on a dating app in a bar in Sheffield.


Clive Lewis

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A formal complaint has been made against the Norwich South MP by a woman who says he groped her at the party's annual conference.

The former shadow defence secretary is alleged to have hugged her and squeezed her bottom. Mr Lewis is "vigorously" disputing the allegation, telling the BBC "it's just not how I roll, it's not what I do".

He suggested the encounter may have been "misinterpreted" and he would never have "deliberately" done what was alleged.


Ivan Lewis

Image caption Ivan Lewis said he had "never made non-consensual sexual comments or sexual advances to women"

The Labour Party is investigating a complaint made against the Bury South MP. Mr Lewis has previously denied making any "non-consensual sexual comments or sexual advances towards women" after Buzzfeed News reported allegations that he had touched a woman's leg and invited her to his house at a Labour Party event in 2010. He has said he was sorry if his behaviour towards women he worked with had made anyone feel "awkward".


Carl Sargeant

Image caption Carl Sargeant was found dead four days after being sacked

The Welsh Assembly member quit as secretary for communities and children in the Welsh government after allegations about his conduct. He urged a full inquiry to "clear his name" but was found dead four days after he was sacked. It is understood he took his own life. An inquiry will look into how Wales's First Minister Carwyn Jones handled the allegations.


Bex Bailey

An independent investigation is under way after Labour activist Bex Bailey said that she had been raped at a party event in 2011 and discouraged by a senior official from reporting the attack.

Ms Bailey, who was 19 at the time, said she had been told reporting the matter might "damage" her career.

Labour's response to the incident, which did not involve an MP, is the subject of an investigation by the QC Karon Monaghan.


Monica Lennon

The MSP said she was sexually assaulted by a senior male colleague at a party in 2013.

She told the Sunday Mail she was groped at a social event in front of several witnesses. She said she made an initial complaint to Scottish Labour but decided not to progress with it because she felt she would not be believed.


The SNP

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Mark McDonald MSP has quit as childcare and early years minister over previous actions which he said were considered "inappropriate".

He is being investigated by the SNP for possible misconduct. It is understood the allegations are not criminal in nature.

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