The Conservative Party is once again at the centre of controversy this week (actually, when is it not?), after a Tory MP resigned from a top government job amid allegations he groped two individuals at a London private member’s club.
Just when the Tories were trying to move on from accusations they’re a party of “sleaze”, Conservative leader and prime minister Boris Johnson has been handed another headache to deal with.
As if the headaches from Partygate allegations weren’t bad enough…
To refresh your memory – though we’d forgive you if you’re trying your best to forget all the Tory nonsense we’ve witnessed over the past few years – here’s all the Conservative MPs who have disgraced themselves under Boris Johnson’s premiership.
1. Chris Pincher
This is the MP who is alleged to have groped two guests at the Carlton Club in London’s Piccadilly on Wednesday evening.
Mr Pincher, who still represents Tamworth at the time of writing, resigned as deputy chief whip on Thursday when he revealed he had “embarrassed myself and other people” after having “far too much to drink”.
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He added in his resignation letter to the prime minister that stepping down from the top job was “the right thing to do in the circumstances”.
2. Owen Paterson
In one of the most high-profile cases of Tory sleaze in recent months, the former North Shropshire MP was found by the parliamentary standards commissioner to have carried out an “egregious case of paid advocacy” by lobbying on behalf of two companies – Randox and Lynn’s Country Foods.
The commissioner, Kathryn Stone, recommended a 30-day suspension for Mr Paterson, but Boris Johnson decided to try and prevent this by calling for the creation of a new Tory-dominated committee to rule on how standards allegations are investigated.
Labour, SNP and the Liberal Democrats all said they would refuse to put forward MPs for the committee, leading to Mr Johnson making a screeching U-turn on the plans.
As a result, a second vote was scheduled to implement Mr Paterson’s suspension, but rather than face that, the MP decided to resign from the Commons altogether.
In a statement issued in November, he said: “I have today, after consultation with my family, and with much sadness decided to resign as the MP for North Shropshire.
“The last two years have been an indescribable nightmare for my family and me. My integrity, which I hold very dear, has been repeatedly and publicly questioned.
“I maintain that I am totally innocent of what I have been accused of and I acted at all times in the interests of public health and safety. I, my family and those closest to me know the same. I am unable to clear my name under the current system.”
The Liberal Democrats went on to gain the seat from the Tories when it went to a by-election.
3. Neil Parish
The ex-Tiverton and Honiton MP sparked conversations about tractors and porn when he admitted in April that he was the Tory politician who viewed adult content in the House of Commons.
He told BBC’s Politics South West at the time: “Funnily enough, it was tractors I was looking at, and I did get into another website that had a sort of very similar name, and I watched it for a bit, which I shouldn’t have done.
“My crime – my biggest crime – is that on another occasion, I went in a second time. That was deliberate.”
Mr Parish revealed the incident happened as he was “sitting waiting to vote on the side of the chamber”, describing the situation as “a moment of madness and also totally wrong”.
It was also in April that he was suspended from the Conservative parliamentary party, before he formally resigned from the Commons in May.
The seat was won by Mr Parish in the 2019 general election, but in a by-election held on the same day as the one in Wakefield – 23 June – the constituency went to the Liberal Democrats.
4. Matt Hancock
How could we forget this one? The West Suffolk MP has been constantly trying to rebuild his public image ever since he was forced to resign as health secretary back in June 2021 for breaking Covid rules he was encouraging the public to follow.
At the time, The Sunreleased a video showing Mr Hancock kissing friend and non-executive director at the Department for Health and Social Care, Gina Coladangelo. The footage was captured right when the then-cabinet minister was telling people not to hug those outside their own household.
As well as leaving the government job, the scandal saw him leave his wife of 15 years for Ms Coladangelo.
At the time he said: “I resigned because I broke the social distancing guidelines, by then they weren’t actually rules, they weren’t the law, but that’s not the point, the point is they had been the guidelines I had been proposing. And that happened because I fell in love with somebody.”
5. Rob Roberts
Representing Delyn in North Wales, Mr Roberts was found to have broken parliament’s sexual misconduct policy back in May last year, after an employee accused him of making “repeated and unwanted sexual advances” towards them.
The Independent Expert Panel recommended a six-week suspension for Mr Roberts, which was later confirmed by the Commons. He was suspended from the Conservative Party too – for 12 weeks from August 2021 – but had his membership reinstated at the end of this period.
In a statement at the time he said: "I asked a male member of Parliamentary staff to dinner in the hope of striking up a personal relationship. I recognise that this breach of trust in the MP-Staff relationship was completely improper and should not have happened.
"I apologised at the time and do so again to the complainant but also to my colleagues, family and most importantly my constituents."
He hasn’t had the parliamentary whip returned to him, however, meaning he currently sits in the Commons as an independent MP.
6. David Warburton
Mr Warburton, the MP for Somerton and Frome, had the Tory whip removed following allegations of sexual harassment and the use of cocaine.
The Tory has been reported to have denied any wrongdoing in relation to the accusations, telling The Telegraph: “I have enormous amounts of defence, but unfortunately the way that things work means that doesn’t come out first.”
Parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme received formal complaints from two women in relation to Mr Warburton.
As well as this, last week it was revealed that the politician would face a fresh probe by the parliamentary standards commissioner over alleged breaches of the MPs’ code of conduct.
They concern “paid advocacy”, failure to declare an interest, and rules around the declaration of “gifts, benefits and hospitality”.
He wrote, in part, on his website: "For the past twelve weeks I have faced accusations which I have - as yet - been unable to address due to the strict confidentiality terms which are explicitly required during any such investigation process. Until two weeks ago, I had not even been officially informed what the accusations were or who had made them."
7. Imran Ahmad Khan
The former MP for Wakefield was sentenced to 18 months in prison in May after being convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy – an offence which Khan continues to deny.
During the former politician’s sentencing on 23 May, Mr Justice Baker said Khan had displayed a “significant degree of brutality” leading up to the attack and showed no remorse for his actions.
The judge said: “The only regret you feel is towards yourself for having found yourself in the predicament you face as a result of your actions some 14 years ago.”
Khan was ejected from the Conservative Party on 11 April, when he was found guilty of the sexual assault, and three days later announced he was formally stepping down as an MP.
A by-election for the seat was held on 23 June, and was won by Labour’s Simon Lightwood.
8. An unnamed Tory MP
There’s also one Conservative MP who was arrested in May on suspicion of indecent assault, sexual assault, rape, abuse of a position of trust and misconduct in public office.
The anonymous politician was later bailed to a date in mid-June pending further enquiries by the Metropolitan Police, and although he has not had the whip suspended, the MP has been urged by Tory chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris to stay away from parliament.
He was, however, allowed to vote in the no confidence ballot on Boris Johnson’s leadership at the start of June.
A Met Police spokesperson told MailOnline last month that the MP in question has now been re-bailed, pending further enquiries, to a date in mid-August.
9. Another unnamed Tory MP
In a case separate to the one above, a Conservative MP has been accused of using date-rape drugs on four individuals - including a fellow Tory MP, who is claimed to have woken up to find his nipples being licked.
10. Boris Johnson
OK, while Mr Johnson is absolutely not in the same league as some of the others, where do we even begin when it comes to the list of things the PM has done to disgrace himself while in office?
Partygate, accusations he mislead the Queen over prorogation… Need we go on?
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