Former Hartlepool MP Mike Hill breached Parliament’s sexual misconduct rules
Former Hartlepool MP Mike Hill would have faced a suspension from the House of Commons for breaking Parliament’s sexual misconduct rules had he not quit his seat in March.
An Independent Expert Panel (IEP) has found that the town’s ex-Labour MP committed two breaches of the rules in relation to his behaviour towards a woman.
The panel’s findings, published on Thursday, are separate to a recent tribunal’s investigation into claims he sexually harassed and bullied the same woman.
The IEP report said that had he not resigned then “we would have likely considered recommending the sanction of suspension from the House”.
The IEP was considering an appeal following a report by the Parliamentary Commission for Standards which found Mr Hill had acted in breach of Parliament’s Sexual Misconduct Policy in respect of one of the three allegations made by the woman.
Both Mr Hill and the woman appealed and the IEP found that he had actually breached the rules in two of the three allegations.
Sir Stephen Irwin, chairman of the IEP, has now said: “The sub-panel took a very serious view of his conduct, and had he remained a Member of Parliament, a significant sanction would have been under consideration.
“In the light of his resignation, however, the sub-panel concluded that no available sanction met the facts of this case and the specific circumstances of the responder. They therefore did not impose or recommend a sanction.”
Mr Hill was notified of the panel’s decision to reject his appeal on March 5 and he resigned on March 16.
Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has decided that Mr Hill should be denied a Parliamentary pass as a former member.
Mr Hill’s resignation led to the Hartlepool by-election, which saw Labour lose the seat to Tory Jill Mortimer.
Evidence at the London tribunal ended earlier this week with a decision likely to be made towards the end of June.
Mr Hill gave evidence to deny the woman’s claims that he sexually harassed and bullied her.
The woman, who can only be identified as Ms A, said a 16-month campaign began with text messages, including one about craving her body, before progressing to groping her and rubbing himself against her.