North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale is one of five Members of Parliament who are under investigation in connection with an attempt to lobby judges ahead of a court hearing for disgraced Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke.
The parliamentary commissioner for standards, Kathryn Stone, is investigating Roger Gale, Adam Holloway, Bob Stewart, Theresa Villiers and Charlie Elphicke’s estranged wife, Natalie, who currently holds the Dover and Deal seat.
The allegations are that the group used official Commons stationery to write to judges in a bid to get intervention so references of support could be admitted when former MP Charlie Elphicke was sentenced on sexual assault charges last September.
The disgraced Tory was jailed for two years after he was found guilty of sexual assault against two women.
Kathryn Stone is investigating the five for “use of facilities [stationery] provided from the public purse” and for “actions causing significant damage to the reputation of the house as a whole, or of its members generally.”
The identity of the group became public after a request was lodged by the Guardian newspaper last year.
Sir Roger said he was unable to comment on the matter at this time but, during a speech in the House yesterday (May 11) the MP made fleeting reference to having a ‘great deal more to say’ on the matter of the courts and the balance of power with the Executive and the legislature s ‘when at liberty to do so.’
He also told the House: “No matter how high or how mighty, we have to do what we believe to be right and this Member of Parliament will continue to do it.”
When the Commissioner upholds a complaint, she can resolve it herself if the MP admits their error and apologises. In serious cases she submits a formal report to the Select Committee on Standards, for them to consider a sanction.
The Commissioner’s full report is always published, along with the evidence, unless it relates to an investigation under the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme. These are treated confidentially.