Tory MP Chris Pincher has announced he is resigning after losing an appeal against his suspension for drunkenly groping two men.
Mr Pincher said he did not want to put any ‘further uncertainty’ on his constituents in Tamworth, in the West Midlands, and has ‘made arrangements to resign and leave the Commons’.
The move will trigger yet another by-election, piling even more pressure onto Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives.
In a statement the MP 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.’
Mr Pincher’s eight-week suspension would have triggered a recall petition if it had been approved by MPs, which was almost inevitable.
A by-election would then have followed if the petition was signed by 10% of constituents.
Mr Pincher appealed the punishment, arguing it was disproportionate, but the IEP said Mr Pincher’s arguments were ‘misconceived or erroneous’ and backed the committee’s proposed sanction.
He resigned as a Government whip after the incident, which proved to be the final nail in the coffin of Boris Johnson’s time as prime minister amid anger at his handling of the affair.
Mr Pincher subsequently lost the Tory whip, meaning he has been sitting in the Commons as an independent.
Former Conservative culture secretary Nadine Dorries’ bitter exit from the Commons last week has already lined up a by-election in Mid Bedfordshire for October 19.
The Tories have held that seat since 1931 and Ms Dorries held on to it in 2019 by 24,664 votes over second-placed Labour.
But the Conservatives are wary of any electoral test after a sustained period in which national polling has put the party lagging far behind Labour.
Mr Pincher has been comfortably voted for by Tamworth residents since 2010 and won a 19,634 vote majority at the last general election.
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