A LOOPHOLE which prevents constituents of disgraced MP Rob Roberts from forcing a by-election should be closed, the UK Government has said.

The Delyn MP faces being suspended from the Commons for six weeks after breaching sexual misconduct rules by making repeated unwanted advances to a member of staff.

Roberts (below) has been stripped of the Tory whip but the way recall laws are drawn up means he cannot face the prospect of losing his seat.

The National:

READ MORE: Tory MP faces suspension from Parliament over sexual misconduct

The sanction was proposed by the panel set up in 2020 to deal with cases raised under the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme.

But the Recall of Parliament Act was passed in 2015 and only allows the prospect of a by-election for sanctions imposed on the recommendation of the Commons Committee on Standards.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that while this is a decision for the House of Commons, he thinks the loophole in Roberts' case needed to be closed.

Talking with BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Shapps said that Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg will be saying more about "the lack of recall provision”.

He added: “This should not have the exemption from recall just because it has gone through this newly independent process and I know the Leader of the House intends to come forward and say more about it.”

A government spokesman said: “A case of this severity highlights the need to look again at whether the process is striking the right balance between protecting the confidentiality of complainants and ensuring consistency with other types of conduct cases.

“The central aim of the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme is to help improve the working culture of Parliament and it will need to continue to evolve and improve over time.

“The Leader of the House will invite the relevant bodies to consider whether any changes could be made in future to the process to enable recall to be triggered.”

MPs need to approve the six-week suspension.

Had a suspension of a fortnight, or 10 working days, been imposed on the recommendation of the Commons Committee on Standards the threshold for a recall petition would have been met.

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Once a petition is open if 10% of eligible voters in a constituency sign it then a by-election is triggered.

Labour MP Chris Bryant, chairman of the Committee on Standards, said it was a “glaring anomaly” that the recall process was not triggered by a sanction recommended by the Independent Expert Panel.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “This is fundamentally a decision for the House of Commons, but a case of this severity has raised questions around whether changes need to be made in order for a recall to be triggered in the future.

“So the Leader of the House of Commons is going to be having conversations across the House over the next few days urging them to consider what more can be done to improve the system.”