Blackpool MP loses appeal against possible Commons suspension

Blackpool South MP Scott Benton has lost an appeal against a proposed suspension from the House of Commons after he was caught lobbying.

Mr Benton, who sits as an Independent, was suspended from the Tory parliamentary party last April after suggesting to an undercover reporter at The Times that he would be willing to break lobbying rules for money.

A subsequent investigation by the standards committee found he had breached the rules and recommended a 35-day suspension from the Commons.

Mr Benton denied wrongdoing and appealed the suspension to the Independent Expert Panel (IEP), the body that sits above the Parliamentary Standards Committee.

However in a ruling, the IEP dismissed the appeal.

Now that it has been upheld, MPs will vote on the punishment and if passed, this would trigger a recall petition that would result in a by-election if 10% of constituents vote for it.

Mr Benton was elected as the Tory MP for Blackpool South in 2019, and has a majority of 3,690. It had been a Labour seat since 1997 -

There are strict rules that prevent MPs from carrying out paid lobbying or advising how to influence parliament.

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

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