Sunak faces fifth by-election headache with Chris Pincher report now imminent
Boris Johnson apologises for appointing Chris Pincher
Rishi Sunak could face a fresh by-election headache with an inquiry by Parliament’s standards watchdog into groping allegations against former Government whip Chris Pincher set to be published.
The Standards Committee will this morning reveal the findings of its investigation into the allegations that hastened the downfall of Boris Johnson.
Sources suggested to the BBC the recommended sanction could exceed the 10-day threshold that could pave the way for a by-election in the MP’s Tamworth constituency.
The PM is already facing three by-elections on July 20, including in Mr Johnson’s Uxbridge and South Ruislip seat after he dramatically quit as an MP over the Privileges Committee’s report which found he lied to Parliament over partygate.
He also has the looming prospect of a by-election in Nadine Dorries’s seat after she announced she was stepping down the same day as close ally Mr Johnson.
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But the date has not yet been set as she is yet to formally resign amid a row about why she did not get her peerage on the former Prime Minister’s resignation honours list.
Mr Pincher was the Conservative Government’s deputy chief whip last summer when he was accused of drunkenly assaulting two men at the exclusive Carlton Club in London.
He resigned from the position and later lost the Tory whip, meaning he now sits in the Commons as an independent.
Already battling to remain in No 10 over the Partygate saga, Mr Johnson’s handling of the Pincher affair was the final straw for his Cabinet support.
He had appointed the MP to the senior role overseeing party discipline despite being aware of an official complaint about Mr Pincher’s prior behaviour.
A recall petition could be triggered in his Staffordshire seat if the committee recommends a suspension of at least 10 sitting days and the wider Commons approves it.
If 10 percent of Tamworth voters sign it, then Mr Sunak will have to defend another constituency won by the Tories in 2019.
Two of three by-elections on July 20 were triggered by the resignations of Mr Johnson and his ally Nigel Adams.
The third was prompted by the resignation of David Warburton amid allegations of sexual harassment and cocaine use.
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