Former Conservative MP Appeals Potential Suspension Amidst Lobbying Scandal
Former Conservative MP Appea...
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Former Conservative MP Appeals Potential Suspension Amidst Lobbying Scandal

15 December 2023
1824
2 min.
3
Former Conservative MP Appeals Potential Suspension Amidst Lobbying Scandal

Mr. Benton in Hot Water

In a recent turn of events, Blackpool MP Mr. Benton finds himself at the center of controversy, facing a 35-day suspension following an undercover sting operation by The Times.

In April, Mr. Benton was suspended from the parliamentary Tory party after an undercover operation by The Times exposed his willingness to breach lobbying rules for financial gain.

Committee on Standards' Recommendation

After a thorough investigation, the Committee on Standards recommended a 35-day suspension, citing Mr. Benton's "extremely serious breach" of rules and his implication that several Members of the House were "for sale."

Mr. Benton's Response

Responding for the first time to the Standards report, Mr. Benton expressed his intent to submit a formal complaint to the House Authorities and appealed the committee's decision.

Claims of Information Leak

Mr. Benton claims that the report's conclusions were disclosed to reporters the evening prior to its planned release, prompting questions about the equity and openness of the procedure.

Challenge to the Committee's Ethics

Questioning the integrity of the Committee on Standards, Mr. Benton asserted that leaks to the press and alleged inaccuracies in the report compromise the openness and fairness of the process.

Appeal to the Independent Expert Panel

In an effort to address the procedural lapses, Mr. Benton announced his appeal to the Independent Expert Panel, the body overseeing the Parliamentary Standards Committee.

Potential Impact on By-Election

The suspension, if upheld, could trigger a by-election. However, Mr. Benton's appeal to the Independent Expert Panel introduces uncertainty, pushing the potential by-election into a state of limbo.

Background on Mr. Benton

Elected in 2019, Mr. Benton currently represents Blackpool South with a slim majority. The Committee highlighted aggravating factors, including his incomplete disclosure and a perceived pattern of behavior.

Incident Details

Mr. Benton's involvement in an undercover meeting with The Times, where he suggested he would be willing to accept payments for lobbying services, has raised ethical concerns, given the strict rules prohibiting MPs from engaging in paid lobbying.

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