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UPDATE: Guido understands Matheson’s whip has been withdrawn.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…