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Tory MP Chris Pincher resigns after suspension from Commons over groping allegations | Politics News

Tory MP Chris Pincher has resigned after he lost his appeal against an eight-week suspension from the Commons following groping allegations.

The Commons Standards Committee announced the sanction in July after investigating the claims and whether the former deputy chief whip caused “significant damage to the reputation of the House” – a breach of the members’ code.

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The move means there will be a by-election in his constituency of Tamworth in Staffordshire.

Mr Pincher did not appeal against the breach, but argued to the Independent Expert Panel (IEP) that the punishment was disproportionate.

In his resignation statement he said: “I have said already that I will not stand at the next general election.

“However, following the Independent Expert Panel’s decision I wanted to talk to my office team and family.

“I do not want my constituents to be put to further uncertainty, and so in consequence I have made arrangements to resign and leave the Commons.

“Tamworth is a wonderful place and it has been an honour to represent its people.

“I shall make no further comment at this time.”

Tamworth has a majority of nearly 20,000 and has been represented by Mr Pincher since 2010.

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July 2022: Chris Pincher quizzed by Sky News

The by-election is likely to come as unwelcome news to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, following a series of Tory losses at the ballot box recently.

Mr Pincher resigned as deputy chief whip in June 2022 after reports he had he groped two men while drinking at the Carlton Club in central London, and was later suspended by the Conservative Party.

It led to the downfall of Boris Johnson, after it emerged the then prime minister was aware of an investigation into Mr Pincher’s conduct three years before, yet still appointed him to a role in his government involving MPs’ welfare.

An investigation by Commons Standards Committee gave details of the Carlton Club allegations.

The first complainant, a House of Lords employee, claimed Mr Pincher had stroked his neck and squeezed his bottom.

The second complainant, a civil servant, said he touched his bottom before moving his hand to touch and squeeze his testicle.

Mr Pincher apologised after their report was released in July and said he had “sought professional medical help”.

The watchdog said Mr Pincher’s conduct had been “completely inappropriate, profoundly damaging to the individuals concerned, and represented an abuse of power”.

The eight week suspension they recommended was enough to trigger a re-call petition which in turn could have led to a by-election.

The IEP, in upholding his punishment, said Mr Pincher’s arguments were “misconceived or erroneous”, adding: “The sanction is far from being arbitrary or disproportionate.”

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