Tory MP quits af­ter al­le­ga­tion over ‘grop­ing’ by Glas­gow MP

Evening Times - - NEWS - BY ALAS­TAIR GRANT

A SCOT­TISH Tory MP ac­cused of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing a Labour politi­cian in a West­min­ster bar has an­nounced he is stand­ing down at the Gen­eral Elec­tion.

Ross Thom­son said “anony­mous and ma­li­cious” al­le­ga­tions against him had made his life a liv­ing hell.

It comes af­ter Paul Sweeney, the Labour MP for Glas­gow North East, pub­licly ac­cused Mr Thom­son of grop­ing him in the Strangers’ Bar in the Com­mons last year.

Mr Thom­son, who led Boris John­son’s Con­ser­va­tive Party lead­er­ship cam­paign in Scot­land and is a staunch sup­porter of Brexit, in­sisted the claims were “false and defam­a­tory” and a “po­lit­i­cal smear”.

The Aberdeen South MP was ac­cused of grop­ing men in the same bar in a sep­a­rate in­ci­dent ear­lier this year.

The po­lice were called then, but no for­mal al­le­ga­tions were made.

In a state­ment posted on so­cial me­dia yes­ter­day, Mr Thom­son said: “Anony­mous and ma­li­cious al­le­ga­tions this year have made my life a liv­ing hell. It has been noth­ing short of trau­matic.

“I have suf­fered a level of per­sonal abuse that has af­fected my health, my men­tal well­be­ing and my staff.

“It has been a level of abuse I never imag­ined pos­si­ble.

“I al­ways be­lieved pol­i­tics was about noble pur­suits and do­ing what you be­lieved to be best for your coun­try.

“My ex­pe­ri­ence is our pol­i­tics is now so poi­sonous we will never at­tract good, hon­est and de­cent peo­ple in the first place.

“I have there­fore made the most dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion that I could ever make.

“I have de­cided I will stand down as the Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tive and Union­ist can­di­date for Aberdeen South.”

Mr Thom­son, 32, said serv­ing as an MP had been the “ab­so­lute priv­i­lege of my life”.

He said he re­mained con­fi­dent an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Par­lia­men­tary Stan­dards Com­mis­sion would find in his favour “and that these base­less claims will be shown up for what they are”.

He added: “As I have al­ready said, I will con­tinue to ex­plore all op­tions avail­able to me in re­sponse to the defam­a­tory and dam­ag­ing al­le­ga­tions made by Mr Sweeney.

“This Gen­eral Elec­tion cam­paign is hugely im­por­tant for the fu­ture of Scot­land, and, in­deed, the very fu­ture of our Union.

“There­fore, I wish my suc­ces­sor can­di­date all the very best in their ef­forts to pro­tect Scot­land’s place in the UK and to sort Brexit.”

Mr Sweeney told the Scot­tish Mail on Sun­day Mr Thom­son had drunk­enly grabbed at him in the Strangers’ Bar in the Com­mons in Oc­to­ber 2018, and then tried to put his hands down the front of his trousers.

The 30-year-old said: “I felt paral­ysed. It was just such a shock­ing thing.

“I was in a cold sweat, it was mor­ti­fy­ing.

“In the back of my mind, I was think­ing that if I just punched the guy, who knows where that could end.”

Ross Thom­son, above, will stand down at next month’s Gen­eral Elec­tion fol­low­ing the claims by Labour MP Paul Sweeney, left

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.