David Warburton’s wife ‘standing by’ him as Tory MP accused of misconduct admitted to hospital

Politician’s wife believes ‘he’s not done anything wrong’

Adam Forrest
Monday 04 April 2022 08:46
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<p>Tory MP David Warburton has been suspended by the Conservative Party</p>

Tory MP David Warburton has been suspended by the Conservative Party

The wife of Conservative MP David Warburton is said to be “standing by” him as he faces an investigation into his alleged misconduct.

It comes as the MP was admitted to a psychiatric hospital on Sunday, after a report emerged that a parliamentary watchdog is probing alleged sexual harassment and drug use claims.

The Somerton and Frome MP, who has had the whip withdrawn by the Conservative Party, is now receiving medical treatment for shock and stress, his wife confirmed to the BBC.

Mr Warburton’s brother-in-law, Jonathan Baker-Bates, said the MP and his wife of 20 years believed he had “not done anything wrong”.

Mr Baker-Bates, brother of Harriet Warburton told the Mail that the couple were “absolutely ... standing by each other”.

He said: “They’ve always been a very happy couple for as long as I’ve known them. Harriet is obviously affected herself. I think she is obviously finding it hard.”

“She seems to be surprised by it as much as anyone else,” Mr Baker-Bates added. “Her line is as his – he’s not done anything wrong and these things have explanations.”

Mr Warburton is facing claims his conduct is being examined by Parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS).

Following the publication of an image which appeared to show the Tory MP pictured alongside lines of a white substance, his brother-in-law said “that behaviour is out of character”.

Mr Baker-Bates also questioned whether the allegations could be part of a “fix-up”.

“As far as I know, that behaviour is out of character and the wider allegations appear out of character,” he told the paper. “He was always very conscious that he is an MP so it is surprising in that context.”

The Sunday Times reported that two women had made formal complaints to the ICGS about Mr Warburton’s behaviour and a third woman had also made allegations about his conduct.

All three women accuse him of unwanted sexual comments and sexual touching, the newspaper said, and the latter also accuses the MP of having used cocaine at her home.

According to the report, the two women who complained to the ICGS were former parliamentary aides, while the other met him through politics.

Mr Warburton is said to deny any wrongdoing. He was cited as telling The Telegraph: “I have enormous amounts of defence, but unfortunately the way that things work means that doesn’t come out first.

“I have heard nothing whatsoever from the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme. I’m sorry, I can’t comment any further.”

Transport secretary Grant Shapps earlier said that allegations about Mr Warburton’s conduct should be investigated and the facts established.

Mr Rees-Mogg said on LBC on Monday that he felt sorry on a “personal level” about Mr Warburton’s position, but there was a need for a “proper process” to make sure people could feel safe working in parliament.

Meanwhile, fellow cabinet minister Simon Hart said he was a “staunch defender” of MPs being able to employ their spouses.

The Sunday Times said two complainants sidestepped Mr Warburton’s Commons office in part due to the person responsible for handling HR complaints being his wife Harriet, whom he employs on a publicly funded salary, which could be worth up to £52,000.

Mr Hart, who also employs his wife, was asked on Times Radio whether MPs should be allowed to give family members jobs.

“I think that’s actually pretty insulting towards so many husbands, wives and partners who do a really good job in parliament, work bloody hard, and provide the taxpayer real value for money,” he said.

A Commons spokesperson said: “Parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) operates on the basis of absolute confidentiality. Therefore, we cannot provide any information on complaints or investigation, including whether or not a complaint has been received.”

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