‘Corrupt’ Tory MP Scott Benton faces 35-day Parliament ban and by-election

Scott Benton, pictured.

Tory MP Scott Benton is facing a 35-day suspension from Parliament over allegations of corruption.

The Blackpool South politician was described as giving the message “he was corrupt and ‘for sale'” in a Commons Standard Committee report into allegations that he had offered to lobby ministers on behalf of a gambling firm for up to $4,000 a month.

Benton had the whip removed in April after an undercover reporter for the Times posed as a representative for a fake investment scheme and was offered “easy access” to ministers in parliamentary votes.

The committee report described Benton’s actions as an “extremely serious breach” of the rules and recommended he be suspended for 35 days, which will be decided in a Commons vote.

“He communicated a toxic message about standards in parliament,” the report continued. “We condemn Mr Benton for his comments, which unjustifiably tarnish the reputation of all MPs.”

If the vote succeeds, Benton would face a month out of Parliament without pay and a potential by-election in his constituency.

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If Benton is suspended for more than 10 days, a recall petition will be triggered. If 10 per cent of voters in his constituency sign the recall petition, a by-election will be called.

In a by-election, Benton would be up against trade unionist Chris Webb who, if successful, would win back the ‘red wall’ seat for Labour.

Shadow leader of the House, Lucy Powell, said the incident was “not an isolated case” but that it “comes off the back of a wave of Tory sleaze and scandal”.

Since winning the seat in 2019, Benton has been widely criticised for his right-wing views on various topics, including support for the death penalty and rhetoric that has been described as anti-abortion.

The out gay MP has also been widely criticised for supporting institutions described as homophobic in the past, including anti-abortion group Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC).

The group, which Benton was a member of, has long campaigned against same-sex marriage, claiming it will lead to the “dismemberment of family structures”.

He was also among 20 LGBTQ+ MPs to vote against the Scottish gender reform bill, which would have made it easier for trans people to obtain a gender recognition certificate (GRC).