'It was a living nightmare': Sacked Tory MP has whip restored after being cleared of 'serious misconduct'

3 December 2022, 13:39

Conor Burns has had the Tory whip restored
Conor Burns has had the Tory whip restored. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Former minister Conor Burns has had the Tory whip restored after being cleared of "serious misconduct" at the party conference in October.

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In a statement, the party said that after reviewing all the available evidence it had concluded there was "no basis on which to investigate further" and that the matter was closed.

Mr Burns was sacked as trade minister by Liz Truss and had the whip withdrawn following a complaint about his behaviour at the annual Conservative Party conference in Birmingham.

It was reported that a witness had claimed to have seen him touching the thigh of a young man in a hotel bar.

The MP for Bournemouth West expressed relief at the finding.

He said he had been confident he would be cleared but that the past two months had been a "living nightmare" - particularly for his elderly parents.

He claimed he was caught in the “crossfire of the dying days” of Ms Truss’ government, with him being “thrown to the wolves”.

Read more: Conor Burns sacked from Government with ‘immediate effect’ after complaint of ‘serious misconduct’ at Tory conference

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Speaking to his local paper, the Daily Echo, Mr Burns said: "I knew that I would come out the other side of this and my name would be clear because there was nothing to what had happened.

"I knew I was innocent and the truth will out and it has."

He said he believed he had been the victim of a "stitch up" because of complimentary remarks he made about Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch who was one of Ms Truss' rivals for the Tory leadership over the summer.

"I think this all had become more to do with nice things I had said about the Trade Secretary than about being up late at the conference," he said.

"It felt and smelt like a stitch up and that it what it was."

In a statement, a Conservative Party spokesman said: "The party received a complaint and investigated in line with its code of conduct.

"After undertaking appropriate inquiries and reviewing all of the evidence available to establish the facts, the party concluded that there was no basis on which to investigate further.

"The matter is now closed and Mr Burns's membership will be reinstated at the nearest possible opportunity."