Ex-Tory MP Chris Pincher facing Commons suspension for eight weeks over groping claims – opening prospect of another by-election

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Chris Pincher MP is facing a suspension from the House of Commons for eight weeks after a report into groping claims against him.

Mr Pincher, who no longer sits as a Conservative, quit as deputy chief whip last summer after being accused of assaulting two fellow guests at the exclusive Carlton Club in London.

The 53-year-old’s actions eventually led to the downfall of Boris Johnson, after it emerged the then prime minister was aware of an investigation into Mr Pincher’s conduct three years before, yet still appointed him to a role involving MPs’ welfare.

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The parliamentary watchdog launched its investigation in October, looking at whether Mr Pincher’s actions caused “significant damage to the reputation of the House”.

In its conclusions, released this morning, it said his conduct had been “completely inappropriate, profoundly damaging to the individuals concerned, and represented an abuse of power”.

And it said his actions would “significantly impact public perception of the House and its members”.

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As a result, it recommended an eight week suspension, triggering a recall petition in Mr Pincher’s Tamworth constituency – if 10% of voters sign it, a by-election is launched.

Mr Pincher would still be allowed to stand, but having announced he plans to step down at the next election anyway, it seems unlikely.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is already facing three by-elections on 20 July after Mr Johnson, Nigel Adams and David Warburton announced their resignations from parliament last month.

A fourth is also expected for former culture secretary Nadine Dorries’ seat, as she has promised to resign over the treatment of Mr Johnson by the Privileges Committee – which found the ex-PM had lied to parliament over partygate.

However, she hasn’t officially stepped down yet.

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Chris Pincher was quizzed by Sky News after Boris Johnson left Downing Street

The report from the Committee on Standards detail the accusations levelled at Mr Pincher on the night of 29 June.

The first complainant said he had never met the MP before, but recognised him in the Carlton Club, as well as knowing some of his staff members.

At around midnight, Mr Pincher approached the House of Lords employee in the bar and grabbed his forearm, “holding it for longer than necessary, which made him feel uncomfortable, leading him to remove Mr Pincher’s arm”.

The report said the MP “went on to stroke his neck” and the complainant again removed his hand, but after a short interval, Mr Pincher returned and “squeezed the complainant’s bottom”.

It added: “The complainant describes the incident as having been traumatic and having impacted his wellbeing.”

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