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Why has sex pest probe minister not been axed, Labour’s ex-safeguarding spokeswoman Jess Phillips asks

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Labour‘s former safeguarding spokesman wrote to Rishi Sunak yesterday to question why a Tory minister accused of groping a woman in Parliament was still in his job.

Jess Phillips asked the PM, Chief Whip Simon Hart and Tory Chairman Richard Holden why he remained on the Government payroll.

She revealed that the alleged victim at the centre of the case was considering taking the complaint to the police.

The minister – who the Mail has chosen not to name – is accused of inappropriately touching the woman who is half his age in December last year.

The case is believed to be under investigation by the Independent Complaints and Grievances Service, which is likely to file a report later this year.

Jess Phillips (pictured) revealed that the alleged victim at the centre of the case was considering taking the complaint to the police

Jess Phillips asked the PM, Chief Whip Simon Hart (pictured) and Tory Chairman Richard Holden why he remained on the Government payroll

Jess Phillips asked the PM, Chief Whip Simon Hart and Tory Chairman Richard Holden (pictured) why he remained on the Government payroll

Jess Phillips asked the PM, Chief Whip Simon Hart (left) and Tory Chairman Richard Holden (right) why he remained on the Government payroll

The Mail revealed the story last week and questioned why he remained in his powerful role, in which he will continue until the election on July 4.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle is understood to have met Mr Hart to discuss the case. The groping allegedly took place in Parliament’s Stranger’s bar and the victim is said to have filed a complaint afterwards.

In her letter, Ms Phillips wrote that she had spoken to the alleged victim and had supported the woman in considering police action.

She asked what action the PM, Chief Whip and Tory chairman had taken in the case.

The ICGS was set up in the wake of the 2017 ‘Pestminster’ scandal after a series of complaints were made about MPs’ conduct.

A list emerged of MPs to avoid for reasons including ‘being handsy in taxis’ which was circulated among Westminster staffers. MPs under investigation are not named until the ICGS reaches a conclusion.

But if it upholds a complaint, a case can then be referred to an independent expert panel. A panel could subsequently recommend a suspension or even an expulsion from the Commons.

It has led to several MPs being suspended in recent months following allegations ranging from sexual misconduct to threatening behaviour.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle (pictured) is understood to have met Mr Hart to discuss the case

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle (pictured) is understood to have met Mr Hart to discuss the case

In her letter, Ms Phillips wrote that she had spoken to the alleged victim and had supported the woman in considering police action

A panel could subsequently recommend a suspension or even an expulsion from the Commons

A panel could subsequently recommend a suspension or even an expulsion from the Commons

However, there has been criticism that the service is not dealing with cases quickly enough after it was initially overwhelmed with complaints about MPs. Last year, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards said the complaints system is falling short.

If the minister is no longer an MP after the Election, the ICGS can still issue a report but the service will have no power to administer a punishment if he is found to have groped the woman.

Earlier this month, MPs approved plans to bar MPs arrested on suspicion of a serious offence from Parliament. The minister has not responded to requests for comment.



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