Receive free updates from the Conservative Party

Former Conservative minister Chris Pincher has announced his resignation as MP following an indecent scandal, triggering a Tamworth by-election within weeks.

The news means Prime Minister Rishi Sunak faces two challenging campaigns this autumn, given the recent resignation of former culture secretary Nadine Dorries as MP for Mid Bedfordshire. by-election.

Pincher lost an appeal to an independent panel this week after the House of Commons standards committee decided to suspend him for eight weeks last year for molesting two men.

“I have already said that I will not run in the next general election,” he said on Thursday. “Following the decision of the independent panel . . . I do not wish to plunge my constituents into further uncertainty and have therefore made arrangements to resign and leave the House of Commons.”

The charges against Pincher, who previously held a number of senior government posts, including deputy chief whip, housing secretary and Europe minister, ultimately ended Boris Johnson’s tenure as prime minister last year.

Pincher is widely expected at Westminster to resign after Pincher’s appeal failed. The standards committee found his conduct at the private Carlton club in June 2022 an “abuse of power”.

Due to the prolonged shutdown of the Commons, Pincher will face a “recall petition” in his constituency – which if signed by more than 10% of the local electorate – will trigger a by-election.

The prospect of two by-elections within months is a political conundrum for Sunak, who is planning an autumn restart on the back of signs of economic recovery but has also been hit by England’s crumbling school crisis.

Although Pincher is firmly seated in Tamworth with a majority of nearly 20,000 votes in the 2019 general election, the Conservatives trail the opposition Labor Party by around 18 percentage points in opinion polls ahead of next year’s election expected to be held.

The seat was held by Labor during the prime ministerships of Sir Tony Blair and Gordon Brown until Pincher first won it in 2010.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives face stiff challenges from Labor and the Liberal Democrats in Dorris’ former Mid-Bedfordshire seat, which she currently holds with a majority of just under 25,000 votes.

In July, the Conservatives suffered disastrous defeats in by-elections in two distinct seats: Labour’s Selby and Anstie in the north of England, and the Liberal Democrats in Somerton and Frome in the southwest.

Sunak’s party kept Johnson’s old seat in Uxbridge, west London, but its majority was cut.

When the Carlton Club allegations were first reported on June 30 last year, other Conservative MPs were furious that Mr Pincher had been promoted by Johnson despite being investigated for misconduct as foreign minister in 2019.

Downing Street initially claimed that Johnson was not aware of the “specific allegations” against Pincher before appointing him to the whip’s office.

Number 10 was eventually forced to admit that Johnson had been briefed by the Foreign Office on Pincher’s allegations but had forgotten.

Within days, a string of Conservative ministers resigned, including then chancellor Sunak. Johnson announced his resignation on July 7, less than a week after The Sun first reported the allegations.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *