Richard Spurr 1am - 4am
Rishi Sunak faces another byelection as ex-minister Chris Pincher set for eight week suspension over groping claims
6 July 2023, 09:15 | Updated: 6 July 2023, 10:24
The Tories are facing the prospect of yet another by-election after a report recommended former government whip Chris Pincher should be suspended as an MP for eight weeks.
Mr Pincher resigned from the government after he allegedly assaulted fellow guests at the Carlton Club in London.
He apologised for "drinking far too much" and embarrassing "himself and other people".
Witnesses said he had been "extremely drunk" at the Carlton Club.
He was allowed to keep the whip and remain a Conservative MP after the incident last June.
Boris Johnson's handling of the situation led to a wave of ministers resigning, and eventually his downfall as Prime Minister.
Mr Pincher's conduct "was completely inappropriate, profoundly damaging to the individuals concerned, and represented an abuse of power", an inquiry by Parliament's standards watchdog found.
The Standards Committee report said: "The breach we are considering is solely whether Mr Pincher has caused significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House as a whole, or of its Members generally.
"The perception that MPs can engage in such conduct with impunity does significantly impact public perception of the House and its Members.
"We therefore recommend that Mr Pincher be suspended from the service of the House for eight weeks."
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner called on him to resign as an MP.
She said: "Chris Pincher's actions are shocking. But what's even worse, is the way the Conservative party protected him, even promoting him despite a previous investigation into his conduct.
"Chris Pincher should now do the decent thing and resign as an MP. The people of Tamworth and the surrounding villages deserve more from their Parliamentary representative."