A Labor MP resigned after being suspended on charges of “serious sexual misconduct”.
In a statement, Christian Matheson apologized to the complainant for “the harm I have caused”.
But he added that he was “appalled” at being found guilty “of several charges that I know to be false.”
An independent panel on parliamentary conduct recommended that Mr. Matheson be suspended from the House of Commons for four weeks due to the charges.
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Matheson described the proposed suspension as “excessive and unfair”.
The Parliamentary Standards Commissioner confirmed two allegations of sexual misconduct against Mr. Matheson made by a former staff member.
He allegedly invited her on a private trip abroad and “the invitation was sexually motivated, unwanted and had put the complainant under pressure and intimidated her,” according to the report.
During a business event outside Parliament, he also “tied his arms to her; made personal comments about her appearance as he looked at her suggestively; made her hold her hand as they exited and insisted on accompanying her to the bus stop ; and once there he invited her back to his house, kissed her twice on the forehead and tried to kiss her on the mouth “.
The report states that the commissioner “concluded that it was all unwanted and unwelcome sexual advances.”
A Labor spokesman said: “This is an incredibly serious case. There must be zero tolerance for sexual harassment and the Labor Party acted immediately after the ICGS results.
“We will now select a candidate that the people of Chester can be proud to vote for.”
Mr. Matheson has been an MP for the City of Chester since 2015.
“Today, with great sadness, I resigned my resignation as a Member of Parliament for the City of Chester,” he said in a statement.
“This follows the publication of a report that found me guilty of sexual misconduct.
“From the beginning, I accepted that I had committed a slight violation of the code and hoped that an honest and open approach would put me in good light.
“This turned out not to be the case and I am dismayed to have been found guilty of several charges that I know to be false.
“Indeed, my insistence on what I know to be true – that I had no sexual motivation in this matter – was against me as a refusal to accept my guilt and caused a greater penalty which I felt was disproportionate.
“Despite demonstrable factual inaccuracies in the sanctions report, my appeal against the sanction was not even considered, for the same reason.
“Therefore, I faced a four-week suspension from the House.
“Although I feel this is an excessive and unfair sanction, I cannot challenge the process any further. I believe the honorable and right thing to do now is to resign from my post and try to rebuild my life elsewhere.
“I would ask for privacy for my family. This affair has also taken a great toll on my health, requiring my hospitalization, and I ask that my privacy be respected as I recover.
“I will forever be grateful to my constituency, and to my party, for giving me the honor of serving, and I apologize to the people of Chester and the House of Commons for the discredit I have brought.
“I apologize once again to the complainant in my case for the pain I have caused.”
His resignation means there will now be by-elections in the city of Chester.
Mr. Matheson retained his seat with a majority of 6,164 in 2019.
Responding to the report, Mike Clancy, general secretary of the Prospect union, said: “It is worrying, however, that while he was under investigation he remained unable to attend the Houses of Parliament.
“In no other workplace would someone under investigation for such serious crimes be free to continue visiting. Parliamentarians must have an idea of the matter: it is simply unacceptable that those who work in Parliament continue to be put at risk in this way.”