Suspension recommended for former Tory MP after lobbying scandal

Benton should be suspended from the Commons for 35 days after being caught in a lobbying scandal, the Committee on Standards has recommended.

An MP caught in a lobbying sting should be suspended for 35 days, the Commons standards watchdog has recommended.

Blackpool South MP Scott Benton was caught by The Times offering to lobby ministers and table parliamentary questions on behalf of gambling investors.

If the Commons backs the punishment, it could leave the former Tory MP – who was stripped of the whip after the allegations surfaced – facing a by-election.

The Commons Standards Committee said Mr Benton’s actions were an “extremely serious breach” of the rules.

The message he gave to the undercover reporters was “that he was corrupt and ‘for sale’, and that so were many other Members of the House”, the Standards Committee’s report said.

“He communicated a toxic message about standards in Parliament. We condemn Mr Benton for his comments which unjustifiably tarnish the reputation of all MPs.”

They recommended that he should be suspended for 35 days – something which could trigger a by-election.

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