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The newly established Independent Expert Panel publishes its first case

23 February 2021

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The newly established Independent Expert Panel (IEP) has published its first case, which has dismissed allegations against the former Member for Aberdeen South, Mr Ross Thomson.

On 19 March 2019 the Reporter made a complaint against Mr Thomson of sexual misconduct in a bar of the House of Commons on the evening of 30 October 2018. The Responder admitted that he was drunk but denied all the allegations.

The appeal by the Reporter has been dismissed by the Panel. The Panel considered each of the Reporter’s five grounds of appeal with some care. Their judgment found there was no merit in any of the grounds and do not accept that there are any valid grounds for an appeal. The Reporter’s identity is confidential.

Sir Stephen Irwin, Chair of the IEP said: “The Panel made the decision in this first case guided by the principles of natural justice, fairness for all parties, transparency and proportionality, and will treat all further cases with the same regard and diligence.

“We understand the seriousness of, and the harm caused by, bullying, harassment and sexual misconduct. We are rigorously independent, impartial and objective, acting without any political input or influence.”

Independent Expert Panel

The Panel, which MPs agreed to establish on 23 June 2020, determines appeals and sanctions in cases where complaints have been brought against MPs of bullying, harassment or sexual misconduct under the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS).

The Panel is entirely independent, with no MPs taking part in its decisions. The sanctions determined by the Panel could include the suspension or expulsion of an MP, which would then require a vote in the House.

It was appointed on Wednesday 25 November in a motion approved by the House of Commons.


Members of the IEP

The members of the IEP are as follows: Mrs Lisa Ball, Monica Daley, Mrs Johanna Higgins, Sir Stephen Irwin (Chair), Professor Clare McGlynn, Miss Dale Simon, Sir Peter Thornton, Dr Matthew Vickers

Further details of the members can be found in a report by the House of Commons Commission.

Read the 23 June 2020 debate on the IEP in Hansard.

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