Chris Pincher to quit as MP after losing groping suspension appeal

Chris Pincher MP

Former Conservative MP and whip Chris Pincher will step down after he lost his appeal against a proposed Commons suspension for drunkenly groping two men. 

The government will now face another yet another by-election, but this time for Pincher’s Tamworth seat which he held since 2010 and is considered one of the safest Tory constituencies in the country.  

The parliamentary standards committee found Pincher – who has sat as an Independent MP since 2022 – had groped two men whilst drinking at the Carlton Club, a private members’ club in St James’s, London. 

A report into the incident found Pincher groped a then-employee of the House of Lords by touching his arm, neck and bottom, which made him feel “uncomfortable”. 

The complainant described the incident as having been “traumatic and having impacted his wellbeing”.

It was also found Pincher groped a civil servant’s bottom and testicles during the same evening.

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The committee described the former MP’s behaviour as “deeply inappropriate and shameful” and an “abuse of power”, adding his conduct has “caused significant and lasting damage to the reputation and integrity of the House”. 

‘I do not want my constituents to be put to further uncertainty’

On Monday (4 September), Pincher lost his appeal against the proposed eight-week suspension over the incident. 

“I have said already that I will not stand at the next general election,” the former Tory whip said in his resignation statement. 

“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.”

The by-election for Pincher’s Tamworth seat is the latest blow to Rishi Sunak’s government, following the departure of Boris Johnson’s ally Nadine Dorries who leaves her Mid-Bedfordshire seat vacant.

In a bitter resignation letter, Dorries hit out at Sunak, saying he runs a “zombie parliament” where “nothing meaningful has happened” since he became prime minister.

“You hold the office of prime minister unelected, without a single vote, not even from your own MPs. 

“You have no mandate from the people and the government is adrift. You have squandered the goodwill of the nation, for what?,” she wrote.

Rape Crisis England and Wales works towards the elimination of sexual violence. If you’ve been affected by the issues raised in this story, you can access more information on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland’s helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.
Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.

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