Lawmaker’s suspension means a possible special election and more trouble for U.K. Conservatives #Lawmakers #suspension #means #special #election #trouble #U.K #Conservatives

LONDON — A political standards watchdog in Britain said Thursday that a Conservative lawmaker who offered to lobby the government on behalf of gambling interests should be suspended from Parliament for 35 days.

The Commons Standards Committee said Scott Benton had “communicated a toxic message about standards in Parliament” during a meeting earlier this year with undercover reporters from The Times of London who were posing as representatives of a fictitious betting firm.

The committee said Benton had offered to lobby government ministers and table parliamentary questions in return for payment. It said he’d given the fake investors the message “that he was corrupt and ‘for sale’ and that so were many other Members of the House” of Commons.

Once the suspension is approved by lawmakers, Benton is likely to be ousted by voters in the Blackpool South constituency he represents in Parliament. A suspension of 10 days or more allows constituents to trigger a special election if 10% of eligible voters sign a petition.

Benton has already been suspended from the Conservative group in Parliament and technically sits as an independent.

He’s the latest in a string of lawmakers caught up in scandals and creating headaches for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The Conservatives have lost six special elections since 2022 to fill seats vacated by lawmakers who have either resigned or been suspended.

A recall petition is currently being held for another Conservative legislator, Peter Bone, who was suspended for six weeks after an investigation found he had bullied and been sexually inappropriate around a former staffer.

The governing Conservatives lag far behind the center-left Labour Party opposition in opinion polls, with a national election due in the next year.

#Lawmakers #suspension #means #special #election #trouble #U.K #Conservatives

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