Sexual misconduct claims against former Tory MP to be reinvestigated

Sexual misconduct allegations against the former Conservative MP David Warburton will be reinvestigated after his appeal against the original probe was upheld, according to Politico.

Parliament’s Independent Expert Panel (IEP) said Tuesday that an investigation into the ex-MP’s conduct was “procedurally flawed,” and ordered a fresh look at the case.

Warburton, who served as a Tory MP from 2015 to this year before quitting, had the Conservative whip withdrawn in 2022 after a Sunday Times report alleged that he harassed three women and used cocaine. Warburton later admitted using the drug, but has denied all other allegations against him.

A member of staff in Warburton’s Westminster office made a formal complaint to parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) in March 2022. It opened an investigation into four sexual misconduct allegations and two bullying and harassment claims against him.

The parliamentary commissioner for standards opted to uphold three of the allegations of sexual misconduct against Warburton — but the IEP, which reviews the work of Westminster’s conduct watchdogs — found Tuesday that the commissioner’s investigation was “materially flawed in ways that affected the commissioner’s decision” as well as being “procedurally flawed.”

The IEP said it made “no findings on the substance of the complaint,” but instead ordered the commissioner to open a new investigation.

Warburton is one of a long list of British MPs who lost the party whip in the Commons following misconduct allegations. In many of these cases, investigations into the complaints have dragged on for months.

He stood down as an MP with immediate effect in June this year, with a blast at what was then a still-ongoing investigation. A by-election will take place in his Somerton and Frome constituency later in July.