A LABOUR MP has quit parliament after he was found to have engaged in “serious sexual misconduct” involving one of his employees.

Backbencher Christian Matheson was facing a four-week suspension from the Commons after an investigation found he had repeatedly made unwanted sexual advances towards a member of his staff.

A parliamentary investigation into Matheson, a former shadow minister, found he had invited his employee – who remains anonymous – on a private trip abroad which was “sexually motivated, unwanted, and had placed the complainant under pressure and intimidated her”.

The National: Christian Matheson, MP for Chester Christian Matheson, MP for Chester (Image: House of Commons)

Another incident investigated by the Commons sleaze watchdog said Matheson had “linked arms with her; made personal comments about her appearance while looking at her suggestively; made her hold his hand as they left and insisted on accompanying her to her bus stop; and once there invited her back to his flat, kissed her twice on the forehead and attempted to kiss her on the mouth”.

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The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards concluded that these were all “unwanted and unwelcome sexual advances”.

The independent expert panel, the body with the power to recommend sanctions against MPs, said: “There is no doubt that [Matheson] was seeking to initiate a sexual relationship with the complainant, his junior employee.

“This wished-for relationship was unwanted and unwelcome throughout.

“The evidence confirms that his actions were entirely non-consensual, as well as threatening, intimidating, undermining and humiliating for the complainant.”

The panel said Matheson’s “continuing failure to acknowledge the full extent of his misconduct” was an aggravating factor adding to the complainant’s distress. It also said there was a “clear imbalance of power” between the two.

Matheson attempted to appeal an earlier ruling against him but this has been overturned.

Because his recommended suspension exceeds the time period which triggers the Recall of MPs Act, he was facing the strong possibility of losing his seat.

However Matheson posted a resignation statement on social media shortly after Friday's announcement.

In the statement Matheson said: “I have today, with great sadness, tendered my resignation as Member of Parliament for the City of Chester.

“This follows publication of a report which had found me guilty of sexual misconduct.

“From the start I accepted I had committed a minor breach of the code and had hoped that an honest and open approach would stand me in a fair light. This has proven not to be the case and I am dismayed that I have been found guilty of several allegations that I know to be untrue.

“Indeed my insistence on what I know to be true – that I had no sexual motivation in this matter – was held against me as a refusal to accept my guilt, and caused an increased sanction which I felt was disproportionate.

“Despite provable factual inaccuracies in the sanctions report, my appeal against sanction was not even considered, for the same reason.

“Therefore, I faced a suspension from the House of four weeks. Whilst I believe that this is an excessive and unfair penalty, I cannot challenge the process further. I believe that the honourable and right thing to do now is to resign my seat and seek to rebuild my life elsewhere. I would ask for privacy for my family. This matter has also caused a great toll on my health, requiring my hospitalisation, and I ask that my privacy is respected while I recover.

“I will forever be grateful to my constituency, and my party, for giving me the honour to serve, and I apologise to the people of Chester, and to the House of Commons, for the disrepute I have brought. I once again apologise to the complainant in my case, for the hurt I have caused.”