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Conservative party readmits MP who sexually harassed staff member

sexually harassed

Conservative party readmits MP who sexually harassed staff member

An MP has been readmitted to the Conservative party, despite having been found to have sexually harassed a member of staff.

Rob Roberts had his party membership suspended for 12 weeks and was also banned from the House of Commons for six weeks, after an independent panel found he made repeated and unwanted sexual advances towards someone who worked in his office and used “his position as his employer to place him under pressure to accede”.

On Monday, Roberts regained his party membership, but still has the whip withdrawn, meaning he sits as an independent in parliament. However, the MP for Delyn in north Wales still sits on the government’s side of the Commons green benches, and votes in line with the Conservative whip.

A Conservative party spokesperson confirmed Roberts’ readmission and that the whip remained withdrawn.

Although Roberts served his suspension from parliament, he avoided being subject to a recall petition. This is usually automatically triggered when an MP is suspended for more than 10 days. However, because Roberts appealed against the initial verdict by the standards commissioner, it emerged that his punishment was not covered by the existing recall legislation because the case was then judged by a separate body known as an “independent expert panel”.

The failure of Conservative headquarters “to stop Roberts’ readmission means that the withdrawal of his whip is in name only”, a senior Tory staffer told the Guardian. They added: “This sends a worrying signal to parliamentary staff members who are still dealing with predatory and abusive behaviour on a daily basis.”

The Labour party chair, Anneliese Dodds, said his readmission to the Tories was scandalous, and criticised the government for voting down a motion to change the law so the punishment of a recall petition could be applied retrospectively.

“Rob Roberts should have resigned as an MP the moment he was suspended from parliament for sexual misconduct,” Dodds said. That he had now returned to the Conservative party showed it had let him off the hook, she added.

“Just last week, the government voted against allowing Roberts’ constituents to choose whether he is the right person to represent them, and now they are choosing to readmit him as a member of their party. Yet again, the Conservative party is acting like there’s one rule for their MPs and another rule for everyone else.”

The leader of the Commons, Jacob Rees-Mogg, has called on Roberts to do the “honourable” thing and step down as an MP, but argued that retrospective punishment would go against the principle that there should be no imposition of a sanction “which was not available at the time when a given case was determined”.

The investigators’ report into Roberts said that he had accepted that “aspects of his behaviour” towards a staff member were “inappropriate” and had offered to apologise but that he “rejected the categorisation of his conduct as ‘sexual’, preferring the term ‘romantic’”.

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Ondo Govt reacts to court judgement declaring new LCDAs ‘illegal’

The Ondo State Government says necessary legal action will be taken on the judgement nullifying the creation of the 33 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state.

The government’s reaction is contained in a statement by the Attorney General of Ondo State, Mr Kayode Ajulo SAN, made available to  newsmen on Friday in Akure.

Justice A.O Adebusuoye of the state High Court had in a judgement on Thursday described the creation of the LCDAs as unlawful.

The court said it was illegal for a governor to sign a law outside the State.

The court said that the Local Government Creation Law 2023 signed by the late Governor Rotimi Akeredolu in Ibadan was unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.

The statement said the government has taken cognizance of Ondo State High Court’s judgement and had requested for a Certified True Copy of it.

Ajulo said after it was studied and analysed, a legal opinion would be presented to the state government.

“Subsequently, all necessary measures, in accordance with our laws, will be taken to safeguard the interests of our citizens, foster peaceful coexistence, and uphold the rule of law.

“The Attorney General remains steadfast in his commitment to prioritizing the well-being and welfare of our citizens, working tirelessly to ensure that justice and the law are served,” the statement said.

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LASTMA impounds 40 vehicles in Oyingbo, ijora, idumota axis

The  Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) has impounded another 25 commercial and 15 private vehicles operating illegal garages and causing serious road obstructions around Oyingbo, Ijora, and Idumota areas of  Lagos.

Mr Taofiq Adebayo, Director, Public Affairs and Enlightenment Department of LASTMA, said this in a statement on Friday in Lagos.

Adebayo said impounding the vehicles at these areas was a decisive move by LASTMA to restore order and ensure the free flow of traffic.

He said the operation was led by LASTMA Head of Enforcement, Mr Kayode Odunuga, under the directives of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Mr Sola Giwa.

Adebayo that they were specifically directed to target illegal garages that had been a persistent source of congestion and inconvenience for residents and commuters.

He said the impoundment, which began in recent weeks, was part of a broader initiative by the  Lagos State Government to enhance the efficiency of the city’s transportation network.

He quoted Giwa as emphasising that government is committed to maintaining law and order on the roads, ensuring that all traffic regulations are strictly enforced.

“illegal garages have been a significant challenge in our quest to maintain a seamless traffic flow in Lagos.

“These impoundments send a strong message to all offenders that the state will not tolerate activities that disrupt public order and endanger the lives of our citizens.

“Our goal is to create a safe and orderly environment for all road users and this action is a crucial step in that direction,” Giwa said.

He noted that the targeted areas, Oyingbo, Ijora, and Idumota, are known hotspots for traffic congestion due to unauthorised parking and the establishment of makeshift garages.

He said that these activities not only obstruct the free movement of vehicles but also pose safety risks to pedestrians.

“LASTMA’s intervention aims to clear these bottlenecks and enhance the overall traffic situation in these critical areas.

“Residents and business owners have expressed their support for the government’s action, noting the positive impact it will have on their daily activities.

“LASTMA has also assured the public that the operation will be sustained and extended to other parts of the city where illegal garages and related activities are prevalent,” he quoted Giwa as saying.

He urged all vehicle owners and operators to adhere to the state’s traffic regulations and cooperate with authorities to avoid sanctions.

He reiterated that the government’s primary objective was to create a better and more livable Lagos for everyone.

He also urged motorists to take ownership of the roads and to promptly inform LASTMA of any broken down or abandoned trailers or trucks via the Agency’s hotlines: 0810056586008129928503.

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Emir of Ilorin commiserates with Saraki over mother’s death

Nigeria in very bad shape, only PDP can rebuild it —Saraki

Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, has commiserated with a former Senate President,  Dr Bukola Saraki, over the death of his mother, Mrs Florence Saraki.

This is contained in a condolence message issued by the emir’s Spokesman, Mallam Abdulazeez Arowona, on Wednesday in Ilorin.

Mrs Saraki died on Tuesday at the age of 89.

Sulu-Gambari described the deceased as a wonderful mother, great philanthropist and virtuous wife to  Dr Olusola Saraki, the late Waziri of Ilorin, whose contributions to humanity would forever be remembered.

According to him, the deceased lived a fulfilled life, with numerous accomplishments.

The royal father urged Saraki, a two-term governor of Kwara, and his siblings to be strong in heart over the demise of their beloved mother.

Sulu-Gambari, who is also the Chairman of Kwara Traditional Rulers’ Council, extended his condolences to both the immediate and extended family members of the Saraki dynasty.

“I pray that Almighty Allah grants the family and friends the fortitude to bear the great loss,” he said.

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