[Disclaimer: this article covers subjects that some people may find disturbing]
By Morgan Perry
The Conservative MP for Delyn, Rob Roberts is under investigation by the Conservative Party after reportedly sending messages to a 21-year-old female intern, asking her for “fun times”.
In addition to the messages with the intern, Mr Roberts also admitted that another parliamentary staffer was forced to move departments after the North Wales MP asked him to dinner.
“You’ll make me sad”
In the leaked messages, Mr Roberts asked the intern, who is 19 years his junior, to “fool around” with him. She later told BBC Wales that the messages had made her feel “incredibly sick”.
After the intern failed to respond, Mr Roberts replied with “You’ll make me sad” accompanied with a crying emoji, followed by a message reading “Pweease”.
In response to his unprovoked messages, the intern replied with “Sorry, not you … really bad mental health day”.
Mr Roberts continued by suggesting that if the intern thought of “fun times [with him]” she might feel better.
Fearing for her job, the intern said she felt “backed into a corner”. “The culture of politics can be quite toxic when it comes to these things, especially when you’re a girl dealing with an MP”, she added.
“Incredibly serious allegations”
Roberts’ actions have been condemned across the House.
Acting Liberal Democrat leader, Ed Davey called the allegations “incredibly serious”, and suggested the whip be removed whilst the party investigates.
These allegations are incredibly serious. We must make sure women are safe at work.
The Conservative Party must immediately remove the whip while they investigate, or they risk sending the message that this is acceptable conduct for a sitting MP. https://t.co/NcJTFgEK6y
— Ed Davey MP 🔶🇪🇺 (@EdwardJDavey) July 21, 2020
Welsh Labour MP for Gower, Tonia Antoniazzi highlighted that “it had not been the first time that serious allegations had been made against Mr Roberts in his seven months as a Tory MP”. She also called on the Tories to investigate Mr Roberts.
I’m increasingly concerned by reports of Rob Roberts’ behaviour.
The Tories must investigate.
My statement: pic.twitter.com/LJNFAjRAva
— Tonia Antoniazzi MP #BlackLivesMatter 🌈 (@ToniaAntoniazzi) July 21, 2020
The exchange follows a number of incidents involving the newly elected Member of Parliament.
In May, police were called to his home in Mold, after his wife reportedly threw a birthday party, which was in breach of Welsh Government social distancing guidelines at the time. Mr Roberts claimed that he was not present at the property.
The MP and his wife split up earlier this year after Mr Roberts came out as gay. In messages to the intern, Mr Roberts said “I might be gay, but I enjoy … fun times”.
Mr Roberts also admitted that there was “lots of drama” after the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury was forced to intervene when he asked a parliamentary staffer out for dinner.
In a statement, Mr Roberts blamed the “mental stress” of his coming out for his behaviour.
The staffer moved department as a result.
An “ongoing” investigation
In response to the latest set of allegations, a spokesperson for the Conservative Party confirmed that there was an “ongoing” investigation into Mr Roberts’ conduct. He is, as a result, already undertaking “safeguarding and social media training”.
It has been five weeks since Mr Roberts tweeted from his official account on Twitter.
The Tory MP himself, who was elected in 2019 over the incumbent Welsh Labour MP David Hanson with a majority of just 865, has not commented on the messages he allegedly sent to the intern.Politics Morgan Perry