Now Playing

Now Playing IconNow Playing:

Evolve Radio

Artist Name

Album Art

Sunak braced for another by-election after ex-Tory MP suspended from Commons

Former Tory MP Scott Benton has been suspended from the Commons for 35 days over his role in a lobbying sting – creating another headache for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

MPs approved the suspension of Mr Benton on Tuesday evening without the need for a vote – known as going through on the nod.

And he will now face a recall petition in his constituency of Blackpool south, which could lead to him being booted out of his seat and a by-election being called.

Politics latest: Sunak backs Post Office chief

Mr Benton had the Tory whip removed last April after suggesting to undercover reporters at The Times that he would be willing to break lobbying rules for money.

A subsequent investigation by parliament’s Standards Committee found he had committed a “very serious breach” of the rules and recommended a 35-day suspension from the Commons.

The backbench MP – who has sat as an independent since being kicked out of the Conservative Party – denied wrongdoing and appealed the suspension to the Independent Expert Panel (IEP), the body that sits above the Standards Committee.

More on Conservatives

But in a ruling earlier this month, the IEP said they “found no substance” in his arguments and dismissed the appeal.

The length of the suspension means that Mr Benton is now facing a recall petition, and if 10% of his constituents sign it, a by-election will be triggered in his seat.

Electoral Dysfunction
Electoral Dysfunction

Listen to Beth Rigby, Jess Phillips and Ruth Davidson as they unravel the spin in a new weekly podcast from Sky News

Tap here to follow

It would take the number of by-elections held during Mr Sunak’s time as prime minister to 11.

Earlier this month, Labour managed to overturn five-figure majorities to win both the Kingswood and Wellingborough by-elections from the Conservatives.

Sky News has approached Mr Benton for comment.

Sky News Source