ANNA MIKHAILOVA: Is Tory MP sex pest Rob Roberts from the chop?

ANNA MIKHAILOVA: Parliamentary loophole may not spare Tory MP sex pest Rob Roberts from the chop

Since sex pest Tory MP Rob Roberts refuses to fall on his sword, there are cross-party efforts to give him the push, I can reveal.

Talks between Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg and his Labour counterpart, Thangam Debbonaire, are increasingly focusing on tabling a Motion for Expulsion, multiple sources said last night.

It would be the first time since 1954 that the mechanism was used. Past cases include MPs found guilty of perjury, forgery, fraud and corruption. Roberts, 41, has been suspended for six weeks by the newly formed independent panel that handles sexual misconduct cases.

Since sex pest Tory MP Rob Roberts refuses to fall on his sword, there are cross-party efforts to give him the push

Talks between Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg and his Labour counterpart, Thangam Debbonaire, are increasingly focusing on tabling a Motion for Expulsion, multiple sources said last night

But the MP avoided a by-election thanks to a parliamentary loophole that’s left colleagues shocked – apart from perhaps those in Tory Party HQ with a nervous eye on their man’s slender majority in Delyn, North Wales.

Meanwhile, Rees-Mogg and Debbonaire, both said to be ‘absolutely disgusted’ by the MP’s behaviour, are working hard behind the scenes to ensure he doesn’t return to Parliament. Rees-Mogg has already dropped a strong hint that resigning would be the ‘honourable’ thing for Roberts to do. Last night, Ms Debbonaire echoed the sentiment, telling me: ‘Someone who has been found to have committed sexual misconduct should do the decent thing and resign.’

Roberts was found guilty of making repeated unwanted sexual advances to a member of staff.

One option is to ask the Standards Commissioner to endorse his suspension and add another ten sitting days, which would trigger a recall vote. But it’s understood neither side are keen on such a retrospective punishment. That’s left expulsion as the most likely route, with Labour expected to table the motion on an Opposition day. 

For now, ‘Randy’ Rob is standing firm. 

Financial worries are understood to be one reason. He was splitting from his wife when he repeatedly hit on male and female staff and now faces a costly divorce…and the dole.

No getaway for list of questions for Boris 

Another day, another question mark over Boris Johnson’s personal finances. 

Senior sources say the Standards Commissioner, who’s already probing the PM’s Mustique getaway with Carrie, should look into Boris’s failure to mention in his MP Register of Interests Lord Brownlow paying some of the invoices for the £200,000 Downing Street refurb. 

No 10 insists the redecoration is ‘not in scope’ for the register but my sources say the payments definitely are. 

The Standards Commissioner is probing Boris Johnson’s holiday in Mustique with Carrie Symonds, pictured

Just another potential headache for our perennially cash-strapped PM. 

At least he’s found a tenant to pay the £4,025-a-month rent for his Oxfordshire pile. 

Priti Patel looks weak after backing down in a tug-of-war over the publication of an eight-year report into police corruption around the unsolved axe murder of private detective Daniel Morgan in 1987.

Baroness O’Loan, who chairs the independent panel, refused to hand over her report for vetting. 

Last Friday, it was agreed officials will only get to read the report at O’Loan’s office and run any redaction past the now utterly fed-up Morgan family before its publication in Parliament on June 15 with a statement from the sheepish Home Secretary.

Priti Patel looks weak after backing down in a tug-of-war over the publication of an eight-year report into police corruption around the unsolved axe murder of private detective Daniel Morgan in 1987

Cabinet figures are increasingly nervous that the PM is in no rush to move their rubber-stamping meetings off Zoom. 

Two Ministers expressed concern to me that his resounding local election performance has delayed the return to socially distanced but in-person sessions, which stopped in December. 

Some recent Zooms of the full Cabinet have lasted only ten minutes with serious decisions made in sub-committees by a handful of Ministers. 

Hearing Dominic Cummings describe the Cabinet as a ‘Potemkin exercise’, referring to the fake villages built along the road to impress Catherine the Great as she rode past, will only add to Ministerial jitters.

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