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Labour MP Chris Matheson quits after “sexually motivated” suggestions to young woman

Christian Matheson

Labour MP Christian Matheson has resigned after a report ruled he’d made “unwanted and unwelcome sexual advances” towards a young woman.

Mr Matheson invited a female employee to join him on a “secret trip” to Gibraltar.

He also tried to kiss her after a drunken corporate dinner.

The report also described how the former shadow minister engaged in “inappropriate” and “unwanted hugging, sexual remarks and touching”.

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The Commons investigation said his advances were “entirely non-consensual, as well as threatening, intimidating, undermining and humiliating for the complainant”.

Mr Matheson admitted some of the allegations.

However, he claimed his actions were “fatherly” rather than sexual.

His resignation triggers a by-election in his City of Chester seat, which he had represented for seven years.

He won with a 6,164 majority in 2019.

The inquiry was carried out by the Common’s Independent Expert Panel.

It was chaired by Sir Stephen Irwin, a retired Lord Justice of Appeal.

The inquiry heard that Mr Matheson invited the young staffer on “a private trip” to Gibraltar.

He asked her to keep it secret, even from her close family.

The commissioner concluded that the invitation was “sexual misconduct which was both non-consensual and had placed the complainant under pressure and intimidated her”.

During the investigation Mr Matheson admitted kissing the young woman on the forehead and that he had “blurred the boundaries between employer and employee”.

But he “denied the more serious allegations” and said his actions were “fatherly” and “friendly” and not “sexually motivated” at any time.

However, the panel found his remorse was “half-hearted, because it extends only to the conduct he admits, which is limited” and his claims of being fatherly were “evidently false”.

It concluded his “continuing failure to acknowledge the full extent of his misconduct is an aggravating factor” and “is insulting to the complainant”.

Mr Matheson said he had “committed a minor breach of the code” and that the report contained “provable factual inaccuracies”.

“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,” he said in his resignation statement.

“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.”

He added: “I believe that the honourable and right thing to do now is to resign my seat and seek to rebuild my life elsewhere.”

 

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