All the Tory MPs who have been suspended since Rishi Sunak became prime minister

Rishi Sunak is facing a fresh headache after a Conservative MP was suspended over allegations he misused campaign funds.

The Times newspaper report into Mark Menzies is the latest sleaze row to rock the Tories since the prime minister entered Downing Street with a promise to bring “integrity and accountability” to government.

Having sought to draw a line under the scandal-hit era of Boris Johnson, problems have continued to mount for Mr Sunak.

Sky News looks at the MPs who have been suspended during his time in office so far.

Mark Menzies

Fylde MP Mr Menzies lost the Conservative whip and was suspended as one of Rishi Sunak’s trade envoys after The Times published claims that he had used political donations to cover medical expenses and pay off “bad people” who had locked him in a flat and demanded thousands of pounds for his release.

Mr Menzies, who will now sit as an independent MP, disputes the allegations but “agreed to relinquish the Conservative whip, pending the outcome of an investigation”, Chief Whip Simon Hart said.

Mr Sunak is facing questions over how the claims were handled, with reports suggesting that the party had been aware of the allegations for more than three months.

Sky News understands there had been an ongoing investigation by Conservative Campaign Headquarters into Mr Menzies, but further information came to light following the newspaper’s report and Mr Hart acted immediately.

William Wragg

William Wragg, the MP for Hazel Grove in Greater Manchester, also gave up the whip after he admitted to The Times he had given his colleagues’ phone numbers to someone he met on a dating app.

The senior backbencher apologised and said the person “had compromising things on me. They wouldn’t leave me alone”.

Scotland Yard later said it is investigating reports of the so-called “honeytrap” scam after it was suggested at least 12 men in political circles received unsolicited messages, raising security concerns.

Mr Wragg’s decision to voluntarily give up the whip led to criticism from within Conservative ranks, with a senior Tory source telling Sky News: “Rishi is so weak Wragg decided he’d have to fire himself instead.”

Lee Anderson

Former deputy party chairman Lee Anderson had the whip suspended over “Islamophobic” comments he made about Sadiq Khan.

The MP for Ashfield, who has since defected to the Reform party, said he believed “Islamists” had “got control” of the Mayor of London, saying: “He’s actually given our capital city away to his mates.”

A day later Mr Khan accused the prime minister of being “complicit” in racism for failing to condemn Mr Anderson‘s comments that “pour fuel on the fire of anti-Muslim hatred”.

Mr Anderson was ultimately suspended, with the chief whip Mr Hart saying this was due to his “failure to apologise”.

Mr Anderson said at the time that he “fully” accepts the party had to suspend him – adding that he “will continue to support the government’s efforts to call out extremism in all its forms – be that antisemitism or Islamophobia”.

Scott Benton

Scott Benton was suspended last April after suggesting to undercover reporters at The Times that he would be willing to break lobbying rules for money.

A subsequent parliamentary investigation found he had committed a “very serious breach” of the rules and recommended he be suspended from the Commons for 35 days, a punishment backed by MPs.

Mr Benton resigned before that could happen, triggering a by-election in his Blackpool South constituency which will coincide with next month’s local elections.

He had denied wrongdoing and appealed the suspension but the ruling was upheld. Had he not resigned, he would have faced being removed from his seat via a re-call petition which would have triggered a by-election if 10% of eligible voters in the area backed it.

Bob Stewart

Bob Stewart, who represents Beckenham in southeast London, surrendered the party whip after he was found guilty of a racially-aggravated public order offence.

The conviction was quashed on appeal in February, but he has not had the whip restored.

Mr Stewart was convicted after telling Bahraini refugee Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei to “go back to Bahrain” during the incident in December 2022.

In overturning the decision, Mr Justice Bennathan said that while the words amounted to abuse, it was not believed that they caused Mr Alwadaei harassment, alarm or distress.

Crispin Blunt

Former minister Crispin Blunt had the whip suspended pending the outcome of the police investigation into allegations of rape and possession of controlled substances, which he denies.

The Reigate MP announced his arrest in October, calling it “unnecessary” but saying he was ready to co-operate and “I am confident will end without charge”.

Mr Blunt has said he does not intend to contest the next election. In January he was re-bailed until April.

Peter Bone

Disgraced ex-Tory MP Peter Bone lost his seat after being removed by constituents in a recall petition. The move came after he was suspended as an MP over bullying and sexual misconduct claims, which he denies.

Mr Bone’s partner was chosen to run as his replacement in the subsequent Wellingborough by-election. Labour managed to achieve a swing of 28.5% – the largest swing of this parliament at the time.

Chris Pincher

Former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher quit parliament in disgrace after losing his appeal against a suspension from the Commons following groping allegations made in June 2022.

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

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

His resignation triggered a by-election in his seat in Tamworth in October, which the Tories lost to Labour.

David Warburton

David Warburton stood down from his seat in Somerton and Frome last summer while being investigated for claims of sexual misconduct. Mr Warburton, who was suspended over the allegations 14 months earlier, denied making unwanted advances but did admit to drug use.

In his resignation letter he said he had been denied a fair hearing by the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) and prevented from “speaking out” while it investigated the accusations.

An independent panel later found the investigation into claims he sexually harassed someone was “materially flawed“, but said it had made “no findings on the substance of the complaint against the respondent, or the allegation that the complaint was fabricated”.

Julian Knight

Juian Knight was suspended as a Conservative after a serious sexual assault allegation was made against him.

The MP for Solihull has always maintained his innocence and in April last year, the Metropolitan Police dropped the investigation without questioning him.

But he remained suspended from the Tory party as the chief whip said “further complaints” had been made against him.

Mr Knight announced he would be standing down at the next election as a result.

Andrew Bridgen

Mr Bridgen was kicked out of the Conservative Party last year after comparing COVID vaccines to the Holocaust.

The North West Leicestershire MP claimed a “consultant cardiologist” told him COVID jabs were “causing serious harms”, adding that the vaccine programme was “the biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust”.

He stood by his comments following his expulsion, saying he would use his “newfound freedom” as an independent MP “to fight for justice for all those harmed, injured and bereaved due to governmental incompetence”.

Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock resigned as health secretary in disgrace during the pandemic when he was caught having an affair with his aide and now girlfriend, Gina Coladangelo, in breach of his own social distancing rules.

But it was his appearance on reality TV show I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! that caused him to lose the whip.

Mr Hancock was heavily criticised by MPs, including Mr Sunak, who said MPs should spend their time “serving constituents”.

SOURCE: UK News – The latest headlines from the UK | Sky News   (go to source)
AUTHOR: Faye Brown
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