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Tory MP David Warburton resigns after sex and drugs investigation - triggering new by-election headache for Sunak
17 June 2023, 21:31 | Updated: 18 June 2023, 08:30
Tory David Warburton is to stand down as an MP - months after being pictured with lines of cocaine and being accused of inappropriate advances toward multiple women.
His resignation will trigger another by-election for Rishi Sunak to deal with after the resignations of Boris Johnson and Nigel Adams last week - with Nadine Dorries yet to activate the formal mechanism to step down despite announcing her intention to do so.
Warburton confirmed his intention to the Mail on Sunday, also admitting to taking cocaine as well as "incredibly potent" Japanese whisky by a woman who photographed and filmed him at her flat.
He told the newspaper that he felt he was being denied a fair hearing by parliamentary authorities after a 14-month investigation into claims he made inappropriate sexual advances towards two women.
Mr Warburton, 57, said he was "set up, but I have been naive and incredibly stupid", but denied harassment allegations.
He added: "I have been prevented from revealing that the first investigation against me was dismissed, that the claimant falsified evidence or that the second claimant was witness to the first and vice-versa.
"I have been prevented from saying that in the remaining case, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards [Daniel Greenberg] himself declared its year-long investigation as 'flawed' – that it ought to be reinvestigated – but that due to its own lethargic pace and delays, we must accept it as it is."
The backbench MP for Somerton and Frome had the Tory whip withdrawn while the allegations were examined by Parliament's Independent Complains and Grievance Scheme (ICGS).
David Warburton (Con, Somerton and Frome) is to resign as an MP.— Britain Elects (@BritainElects) June 17, 2023
When the allegations were made public, he said: "I have enormous amounts of defence, but unfortunately the way that things work means that doesn't come out first," he told The Telegraph.
"I have heard nothing whatsoever from the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme.
"I'm sorry, I can't comment any further."
The married father-of-two studied at the Royal College of Music and had a career as a music teacher before becoming an MP.
He has represented Somerton and Frome since 2015.
The Lib Dems will be hoping to win back the seat they lost to the Conservatives in 2015 as part of an encouraging series of results for the party in recent by-elections.