Chris Pincher Faces 8-Week Commons Suspension Over Groping Allegations

The suggested punishment means Rishi Sunak could have a fifth by-election to fight.
Thierry Monasse via Getty Images

Rishi Sunak is facing the headache of a fourth by-election, after a sleaze watchdog recommended MP Chris Pincher be suspended from parliament for eight weeks.

Pincher resigned as Conservative deputy chief whip last June after he was accused of drunkenly groping two men at the Carlton Club in central London.

In a report published on Thursday morning, the Commons standards committee said the Tamworth MP was guilty of “an egregious case of sexual misconduct”.

The committee said his behaviour “especially grave” as his senior position in government meant his actions were “an abuse of power”.

Under the rules, when an MP is suspended for more than ten days then a by-election is held if 10% of their constituents sign a recall petition.

Boris Johnson’s handling of the Pincher affair was the final straw for many Tory MPs, who forced the then prime minister from office on July 7, 2022.

The Conservatives have a 19,634 vote majority in Tamworth. Labour last won the West Midlands seat in 2005.

Pincher has been sitting as an independent MP after having the party whip withdrawn, but he was elected as a Tory.

The sanction recommended by the committee will have to be voted on by the Commons before it is enforced.

Sunak is already preparing to fight three crunch by-elections on June 20, following the resignations of Tory MPs Johnson, Nigel Adams and David Warburton.

A fifth is also on the cards, as Nadine Dorries has said she will quit but has yet to formally stand down.

Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, said Pincher should quit as an MP immediately.

“Chris Pincher’s actions are shocking,” she said. “But what’s even worse, is the way the Conservative party protected him - even promoting him despite a previous investigation into his conduct.”

She added: “The people of Tamworth and the surrounding villages deserve more from their parliamentary representative.”


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