Former Tory whip Chris Pincher has lost his appeal against an eight-week suspension from the House of Commons following allegations he drunkenly groped two men last year.
The incidents allegedly occurred at London’s exclusive Carlton Club in 2022.
His suspension exceeds the 10-day threshold that would trigger a recall petition in his Tamworth seat, which could pave the way for a by-election.
The Commons Standards Committee in July recommended a lengthy suspension after it found the MP’s conduct last summer was “profoundly damaging” and amounted to an abuse of power.
Then Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s handling of the row over his former chief whip was the final nail in the coffin of his premiership, triggering his resignation last year after an exodus of ministers from his administration.
Pincher, who remains MP for Tamworth, lodged an appeal against the committee’s findings arguing it was disproportionate.
However, Parliament’s watchdog, the Independent Expert Panel (IEP), on Monday dismissed his appeal and upheld the Standards Committee’s recommended sanction.
It comes just days after Tory MP Nadine Dorries formally resigned from the Commons, triggering a by-election in her Mid-Bedfordshire constituency.
The move by Dorries is seen as an effort to pile pressure onto Sunak amid a potentially testy party conference season as he attempts to build momentum in his party ahead of the general election.
Press Association – by Sophie Wingate