Charlotte Nichols, 2019 intake Labour MP for Warrington North, has been making ripples in the press since last November, when she told 5 Live that there is a “whisper network list of the people [in Westminster] to avoid”. In December The Sun on Sunday reported there was a new Pestminster list of MPs circulating, with a Tory MP telling the paper this one – unlike the 2017 spreadsheet – contains individuals from “across all the political parties.” The race was on to find a copy…
Then on January 1st, Nichols found herself once again at the centre of controversy after sharing a sexual harassment list of 20 MPs to a WhatsApp group used by fellow 2019 intake MPs. The Mail on Sunday got the scoop, reporting that Nichols told them she’d shared it to the group by mistake and had since deleted the post, though she “stood by every name”. A senior Labour figure told the paper, “If you believe you have evidence that X, Y or Z is a wrong ‘un, then fair enough. But you can’t just put names out like this.”
Perhaps the senior Labour figure is so concerned by Nichols because unlike the infamous 2017 Pestminster list, this new one of 20 MPs is made up of 40% Labour members.
Guido’s been passed the list, and can confirm the breakdown is 11 Tories, 8 Labour and a single senior SNP frontbencher. While no specific allegations against any of the names are made by Nichols, Chris Pincher is among the names, as is Chris Matheson who recently resigned as the MP for Chester for “unwanted sexual advances” towards a junior member of staff. Six of the names on Nichols’ list were on the 2017 list, all of whom are Tories.
Guido’s source also revealed that a Lobby political editor is known to be making inquiries into one senior Labour MP named on Nichols’ list, regarding sexual misconduct. Guido’s only surprise is that her list doesn’t contain some more infamous names…
UPDATE: Guido has now spoken to 2 of the MPs named by Charlotte Nichols, they didn’t know they were on her list and expressed off the record bemusement.
Labour MP for Chester Christian Matheson has resigned following his suspension for sexual misconduct:
“I have today, with great sadness, tendered my resignation as Member of Parliament for the City of Chester.
This follows publication of a report which had found me guilty of sexual misconduct.
From the start I accepted I had committed a minor breach of the code and had hoped that an honest and open approach would stand me in a fair light. This has proven not to be the case and I am dismayed that I have been found guilty of several allegations that I know to be untrue. Indeed my insistence on what I know to be true – that I had no sexual motivation in this matter – was held against me as a refusal to accept my guilt, and caused an increased sanction which I felt was disproportionate.
Despite provable factual inaccuracies in the sanctions report, my appeal against sanction was not even considered, for the same reason.
Therefore, I faced a suspension from the House of four weeks. Whilst I believe that this is an excessive and unfair penalty, I cannot challenge the process further. I believe that the honourable and right thing to do now is to resign my seat and seek to rebuild my life elsewhere. I would ask for privacy for my family. This matter has also caused a great toll on my health, requiring my hospitalisation, and I ask that my privacy is respected while I recover.
I will forever be grateful to my constituency, and my party, for giving me the honour to serve, and I apologise to the people of Chester, and to the House of Commons, for the disrepute I have brought. I once again apologise to the complainant in my case, for the hurt I have caused.”
The Independent Expert Panel for MPs’ conduct has recommended Labour MP Christian Matheson be suspended for “serious sexual misconduct” with a junior staffer:
“There is no doubt that the respondent was seeking to initiate a sexual relationship with the complainant, his junior employee. This wished-for relationship was unwanted and unwelcome throughout. The evidence confirms that his actions were entirely non-consensual, as well as threatening, intimidating, undermining and humiliating for the complainant.”
Matheson’s appeal was also rejected, and the panel recommends a four-week suspension from the House. Read the full report below:
UPDATE: Guido understands Matheson’s whip has been withdrawn. A Labour spokesperson said:
“This is an incredibly serious case. There must be a zero tolerance for sexual harassment and the Labour party has acted immediately following the ICGS findings. We will now select a candidate that the people of Chester can be proud to vote for.”
UPDATE II: Matheson has resigned. Read his statement here…