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Grant Shapps says suspending arrested MPs is ‘on the wrong side of natural justice’ – Politics.co.uk


Grant Shapps has said that suspending MPs from parliament if they have been arrested for a violent or sexual offence is on the “wrong side of natural justice”.

The defence secretary insisted a suspension should only take place if an MP is charged.

Shapps’ position, stated in an interview with Times Radio on Tuesday morning, is in line with the government’s motion on Monday, which recommended MPs only face a ban if they are charged with a violent or sexual offence.

However, in a knife-edge vote last night, MPs voted that the measures on “risk-based exclusions” should ensure members can be excluded from parliament at the point of arrest.

This position was agreed after MPs voted 170 to 169, a majority of one, in favour of an amendment in the names of Liberal Democrat MP Wendy Chamberlain and Labour MP Jess Phillips.

The amended motion was then passed without a division.

How every MP voted on risk-based exclusion plans as motion passes by one vote

Commenting on the vote on Tuesday morning, Grant Shapps told Times Radio: “In the end, parliament has made the decision, and I respect the votes in parliament. Of course it could look at it again, if it needed to. But for me, it does seem to be just on the wrong side of natural justice and that’s why I voted to say you should wait for a charge.

“But there are passionate arguments in both directions. And I can see you can make that argument in both directions. I thought it’s slightly the wrong side of the line, parliament’s decided. That’s why we get to vote on these things.”

Speaking in the commons debate on Monday evening, shadow leader of the House Lucy Powell said: “We’ve come a long way in addressing the culture and bad behaviour in parliament. Setting a proper framework for the risk based exclusion of members is an essential, if limited step in this journey”.

Meanwhile, Conservative MP Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg objected to the measures on the ground that they are “unconstitutional”.

Arguing that any expulsion from the commons must flow from a vote of MPs, Sir Jacob insisted: “The problem with this motion is that it is simply unconstitutional. If we want to go down this route, we need to legislate for it.”

‘This motion is simply unconstitutional’: Commons debate on barring alleged sex offence MPs

Labour MP Jess Phillips, in whose name the agreed amendment was tabled, told the commons that, ahead of the debate, she had spoken to “two women who were raped by” parliamentarians.

She said: “Just today, just on this one day, I’ve spoken to two women who were raped by members of this parliament, two. That’s a fairly standard day for me”.

She added: “And I wonder if the honourable lady from the procedures committee who told us of all the people that she had had in front of her, how many of the victims of these crimes came and gave evidence or were given an opportunity to give evidence in private?”

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Jess Phillips: ‘Just today, I’ve spoken to two women who were raped by MPs’





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