Scott Benton resigns as Blackpool South MP

(Pic courtesey Scott Benton)

Blackpool South Conservative MP, Scott Benton, has resigned as an MP, triggering another by-election.

It follows him losing his appeal in February this year against a 35-day Parliamentary suspension, which meant he could face a recall vote, which may result in a by-election, where he faces losing his seat.

Last December, the Commons Standards Committee recommended Benton should be suspended for 35 days following an investigation by The Times, in which reporters posed as employees of a fake lobbying company, TAHR, that led to a suggestion Benton would be willing to break lobbying rules for money.

He was suspended by the Parliamentary Tory Party last April.

He appealed the suspension, but the Independent Expert Panel (IEP), the body that sits above the Parliamentary Standards Committee, upheld the original suspension.

He said it was “the honour of a lifetime” to serve as MP.

Benton was elected in 2019, and has a majority of just 3,690. Blackpool South had been a Labour seat since 1997, but was Conservative before that.

The Commons Standards Committee had said Benton provided an “incomplete and incorrect picture of what had transpired”, while adding it was a “repeat offence, or indication that the offence was part of a pattern of behaviour”.

The committee deemed his actions an “extremely serious breach”.

In a damning secret recording of the meeting the Conservative MP was filmed offering to lobby ministers directly, and to share market sensitive information and ask questions on behalf of the businesses in Parliament and to give the supposed Indian-backed gambling client access to the White Paper on gambling reform 48 hours before publication.

In his meeting at a London hotel with The Times reporters Mr Benton, chair of the all-party parliamentary group for betting and gaming, gave the impression he would be happy to be paid between £2,000 and £4,000 a month to help the fake company.

MPs cannot carry out paid lobbying or offer advice on how to influence parliament.

Mr Benton did not accept any financial payment arising from the meeting

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