The name of Mike Hill doesn't count for much in Labour circles these days. The former MP for Hartlepool was forced to quit the Commons in March after breaching Parliament’s sexual misconduct policy, triggering a by-election which saw the Tories take the seat for the first time since 1959.
Then four months later he was reported to be facing a possible criminal inquiry after an employment tribunal ruled that he repeatedly sexually assaulted and harassed a parliamentary staff member before victimising her when she refused his advances. Now there's one final sting in the tail for Hill's long-suffering constituents. A bill for £6,000 for 'bought-in services' from Hudgell Solicitors has just been published by IPSA, which regulates MPs expense claims.
The fee was used to fund Hill's legal defence as he attempted to clear his name and was registered on 16 March 2021 – the same day he announced his intention to stand down. As Jenny Symmons, the Labour parliamentary staffer who chairs the GMB MPs staff group in Westminster, noted: 'Who pays for MPs to be defended when they’re accused of bullying/harassment/sexual abuse? We do!' She added: 'There is no equivalent of employer insurance for staff. The female victim of Hill’s sexual harassment and victimisation had to crowd fund her legal fees (after losing her livelihood) while we, taxpayers, bailed out the perpetrator.'
Classy note for Hill to end on, eh?