Tory MP Conor Burns, sacked after ‘touching young man’s thigh in bar’, on track for knighthood

Conor Burns in a parliamentary portrait.

Sacked Tory minister Conor Burns is due to receive a knighthood in Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list, it has been revealed.

Burns, a gay MP for Bournemouth West, was sacked as trade minister on Friday (7 October) after an unspecified complaint was made against him.

Liz Truss reportedly took swift action when a third party complained that they had seen him touching a younger man’s thigh at the Conservative Party conference.

Despite his sacking, The Times has since revealed that Burns is on course to receive a knighthood from Boris Johnson – an honour Liz Truss apparently can’t block.

Burns is seen as a close ally of Johnson and he is among a group of loyalist MPs who are expected to receive honours from the former prime minister.

It was Burns who famously declared that Johnson had been “ambushed by cake” when it emerged he celebrated a birthday party at Downing Street during lockdown.

Three sources told The Times that Burns was allegedly seen touching a younger man’s thigh by a Conservative whip at conference.

The whip reportedly filed a complaint three days later.

It is understood that the man who was allegedly groped by Burns at conference has not filed a complaint.

A friend of the sacked minister told The Times that Burns fears his “career is over” as a result of the allegations.

Conor Burns denies wrongdoing

The Times reports that there’s “a lot of upset” within the party, with many critical of the approach taken by party whips when the man in question has not complained.

One Cabinet member said they were “convinced” Truss sacked Conor Burns after he criticised her at a conference event.

Burns has denied any wrongdoing. In a series of tweets, he said he was “not given any information about the complaint” when he received a call from chief whip Wendy Morton.

“On the basis of this complaint Ms Morton told me that the whip was being withdrawn and that I was standing down as trade minister,” Burns said.

“I will fully cooperate with the party’s enquiry and look forward to clearing my name.

“I hope the party will be as quick to conduct their enquiry as they were to rush to judgement.”

There was some surprise when Mel B, the former Spice Girl, waded into the controversy.

The singer attended the Conservative Party conference to deliver a speech about domestic abuse. After Burns addressed the allegations in a series of tweets, she replied: “Really?? Your [sic] shocked about this complaint??? Let me remind you what you said me in lift…”

Mel B has not said exactly what happened, but The Times reports that he allegedly made an “offensive” remark to her in a lift on Sunday afternoon (2 October).