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29 October 2020
Ross Thomson cleared over sexual assault claims

Parliament TV

Ross Thomson cleared over sexual assault claims

Claims that former Tory MP Ross Thomson sexually assaulted a Labour MP in a Westminster bar have been dismissed by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

Thomson, a former MP for Aberdeen South and Boris Johnson’s Scottish campaign chairman, stood down as a candidate in last year’s general election after former Labour MP Paul Sweeney made the claims that he had groped him in 2018.

He said that he is “currently exploring all legal avenues” while seeking to “[draw] a line under this ordeal and finally move on with my life”.

The claims were made public in 2019, shortly before the general election.

Sweeney alleged that Thomson had tried to fondle him and had forced his hand down his trousers while in Westminster’s Strangers’ Bar in October 2018.

The Times reports that now the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards has concluded her investigation and has found that Thomson’s behaviour was not sexual and cleared him of misconduct.

The commissioner, Kathryn Stone, said that there was insufficient evidence to substantiate Sweeney’s claims, which were not corroborated by other witnesses.

She is reported to have said that she was “concerned that the detail of Mr Sweeney’s account has changed, with new elements introduced over time, some of which have not been substantiated”.

The commissioner, also noted, however, that she cannot conclude that Sweeney’s complain was malicious.

Sweeney has not commented on the decision, as the matter is still live. He can choose to appeal the decision.

Thomson said he welcomed the decision, adding that it is his view that the allegations were “false and malicious” and calling the complaints “a smear”.

He said: “I complied fully with the investigation at every stage, even when it meant I could not defend myself publicly against damaging, distressing and false accusations.

“Whilst it is regrettable that I had to wait this long to clear my name, I am satisfied that the independent inquiry was both extensive and robust.”

Thomson added: “The last two years have been a living hell, with these false allegations triggering a barrage of unfair headlines and unrelenting abuse on the street and online.

“I was forced to give up the job that I loved, making myself and my office staff unemployed. Furthermore, my reputation has been irreparably damaged by these lies.

“I would like to thank former Conservative, Labour and SNP colleagues at Westminster for supporting me throughout this nightmare, and for ensuring the truth came out.

“I am currently exploring all legal avenues and I look forward to drawing a line under this ordeal and finally moving on with my life.”

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