A Labor MP resigned after a parliamentary watchdog upheld a complaint of “serious sexual misconduct” by a young assistant, sparking a by-election.
Christian Matheson, 54, denied the allegations but said he had decided to step down as an MP for the city of Chester, a constituency he had held since 2015.
An independent panel of experts recommended a four-week suspension after Congressional Standards Commissioner Kathryn Stone upheld two allegations of sexual misconduct against Matheson by a former employee.
The complaint, filed under Congress’ Independent Complaints and Grievances Scheme, alleges that Matheson made unwanted advances against a female assistant who no longer worked for him.
Stone concluded that Matheson invited her on a private trip to Gibraltar in 2019.
Later, during and after a Works event in January 2020, he “folded her arms around her. While giving her a suggestive look, he made personal comments about her appearance.” He sometimes made her hold her hand and insisted on taking her to the bus stop, whereupon he called her back to his apartment, kissed her twice on the forehead, and tried to kiss her on the mouth.
“unwanted or unwelcome sexual advances”
“The Commissioner has concluded that these are all unwanted and unwelcome sexual advances,” Stone concluded.
In a statement on Friday, Matheson said: I am disappointed that I have been convicted of several allegations that I know to be untrue. ”
The Labor Party was understood to have suspended Matheson’s membership following the watchdog report, and Chief Whip Sir Alan Campbell urged him to resign as MP.
A Labor spokesperson told the PA: “This is a very serious case. Sexual harassment should never be tolerated and Labor took immediate action following the ICGS findings.” We will choose a candidate that the people of Chester will be proud to vote for.”
Matheson won the City of Chester from the Conservative Party in 2015 and received 6,164 votes in the last election.
In his resignation, Matheson said:
“This has been proven not to be true and I am disappointed that I have been convicted of several allegations which I know to be untrue. In fact, what I know to be true. That is, my assertion that there was no sexual motive in this matter was opposed by me as a refusal to accept my guilt, and caused an increase in sanctions which I felt was disproportionate.
Matheson concluded, “I believe the honorable and right thing to do now is to resign my seat and try to rebuild my life elsewhere.”
PA Media contributed to this report.