Two Conservative MPs have been cleared of breaching party rules following investigations into sexual harassment.
Former Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb apologised for inappropriate behaviour after admitting to sending explicit texts to a 19-year-old woman who he had interviewed for a junior role in his office.
Tamworth MP Chris Pincher stood down from the whips’ office and referred himself to the new Conservative complaints procedure following newspaper reports that he made inappropriate advances on Olympic rower and Conservative activist Alex Story.
Both MPs have now been cleared of the allegations by a panel headed by an independent QC. The claims emerged at the height of the Westminster sexual harassment scandal.
Mr Crabb, a devout Christian who stood to be Tory leader, told The Daily Telegraph at the time that he had said “some pretty outrageous things” to the woman, which “basically amount to unfaithfulness”.
A Conservative Party spokesman said: “Following an investigation, a panel headed by an independent QC has concluded that Mr Crabb’s behaviour did not constitute harassment.
“However, it found that his behaviour in this matter was inappropriate and fell short of the standards the party expects.
“The party chairman has reminded Mr Crabb of the need to adhere to the spirit and letter of the code of conduct at all times. He accepted this unreservedly and has made a full apology.”
Mr Pincher was cleared of breaching the code of conduct after Mr Story alleged the MP had made an unwanted pass at him in 2001 while wearing a bathrobe – like a “pound shop Harvey Weinstein”.
The MP previously told the The Mail on Sunday: “If Mr Story has ever felt offended by anything I said then I can only apologise to him.”
A Conservative spokesman said: “Following media allegations, Chris Pincher referred himself to our code of conduct.
“Following an investigation, a panel headed by an independent QC considered the evidence and has concluded there has not been a breach of the code of conduct.”
Westminster was engulfed in a wave of claims of sexual harassment and abuse in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal in Hollywood.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon became the most high-profile casualty when he was forced to resign over inappropriate behaviour, and investigations are still ongoing into Tory MPs Dan Poulter and Daniel Kawczynski.
Dover MP Charlie Elphicke had the whip removed and was reported to police over “serious allegations”, although he denies any wrongdoing.
Labour MPs Kelvin Hopkins and Ivan Lewis are both suspended from their party while investigations take place.
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