Chris Pincher resigns after losing commons suspension appeal over groping allegations

Former Conservative MP Chris Pincher has resigned after he lost his appeal against an eight-week suspension from the commons following groping allegations made against him.

The commons standards committee announced the sanction in July following an investigation into the claims and whether the former deputy chief whip caused “significant damage to the reputation of the House”, which amounted to a breach of the members’ code.

Pincher resigned from Boris Johnson’s government over the allegations last summer.

He did not appeal against the breach, but argued to the Independent Expert Panel (IEP) that the punishment was disproportionate.

He said in a statement this morning: “I have said already that I will not stand at the next general election. However, following the Independent Expert Panel’s decision I wanted to talk to my office team and family.

“I do not want my constituents to be put to further uncertainty, and so in consequence I have made arrangements to resign and leave the Commons. Tamworth is a wonderful place and it has been an honour to represent its people.

“I shall make no further comment at this time.”

The report from the Standards committee, published in July, read: “Mr Pincher’s conduct was completely inappropriate, profoundly damaging to the individuals concerned, and represented an abuse of power.

“We therefore agree with the Commissioner that Mr Pincher’s conduct on 29 and 30 June 2022 breached paragraph 17 of the 2019 Code”.

It added: “The breach we are considering is solely whether Mr Pincher has caused significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House as a whole, or of its Members generally.

“The perception that MPs can engage in such conduct with impunity does significantly impact public perception of the House and its Members. We therefore recommend that Mr Pincher be suspended from the service of the House for 8 weeks”.
The 53-year-old’s actions last year triggered the downfall of former prime minister Boris Johnson. It emerged in the aftermath of the scandal that Johnson was aware of an investigation into Mr Pincher’s conduct three years before.
But Johnson still appointed him to a role involving MPs’ welfare.

A by-election will now be held in Pincher’s Tamworth seat. The MP had majority of more than 19,000 in 2019.