No 10 defends Tory MP rebuke over ‘unacceptable’ behaviour

The front door of 10 Downing Street in Westminster

The front door of 10 Downing Street in Westminster - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party take allegations of inappropriate behaviour ‘incredibly seriously’, the prime minister’s press secretary said after a Tory MP was rebuked for his conduct.

Delyn MP Rob Roberts has faced allegations over WhatsApp messages sent to a young female intern and also his behaviour towards a male parliament worker.

He reportedly asked the intern to “fool around” with him and commented on her “lovely legs”.

Last week the party said Roberts had been strongly rebuked for his behaviour.

Asked what message the Conservative Party’s response sent to victims of sexual harassment, the prime minister’s press secretary Allegra Stratton said: “We take it incredibly seriously. His conduct was found to be unacceptable under the party’s code of conduct and he has been strongly rebuked.

“He has apologised for his behaviour and was instructed to undertake safeguarding and social media protection training.

“It’s something the party takes incredibly seriously and has dealt with accordingly.”

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Asked if the prime minister was happy for Roberts to continue representing the party, Stratton said: “We have concluded that his conduct was found to be unacceptable and he has been strongly rebuked, and that’s the action that we have taken.”

The issues investigated by the Conservative Party were said to be made by third-party complainants rather than the individuals involved.

Roberts apologised last June when the allegations came to light and was rebuked by Conservative Party co-chairman Ben Elliot.

First elected to Parliament in 2019, the MP last year split from his wife and publicly came out as gay with a statement on Twitter in May.

In messages reported by BBC Wales, Roberts told the intern in April last year she might want to “fool around with no strings, you might come and visit me in London”.

Later in the exchange the MP told the female intern that he “might be gay but I enjoy… fun times”.

Roberts also invited a male member of parliamentary staff to dinner, something he later acknowledged was inappropriate.

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