Ex-Tory MP Caught in Fake Gambling Investor Sting Loses Suspension Appeal

  • IEP rejected Tory MP Scott Benton’s appeal to lift his Commons suspension
  • Benton disagreed about being suspended after being caught in a gambling sting
  • If enough voters sign a recall petition, Benton could get removed from office
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Scott Benton, the Tory MP for Blackpool, has lost his appeal to have his suspension lifted after being caught in a gambling sting. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

The UK government’s Independent Expert Panel (IEP) has rejected an appeal by ex-Tory MP Scott Benton to have his 35-day Commons suspension lifted.

The IEP published its rejection Tuesday of Benton’s effort to have his suspension overturned for being caught up in a March 2023 sting by undercover reporters from The Times, in which one posed as fake gambling investor.  

The Conservative Party suspended the Blackpool South MP in April.

On January 19, 2024, Benton lodged an appeal with the IEP to overturn the Parliamentary Standards Committee (PSC)’s decision to suspend him.

rejected Benton’s claim that the PSC was “procedurally flawed”

The IEP initially acknowledged a basis for Benton’s appeal. Namely, that there was a PSC leak in which The Mirror published details of the MP’s suspension ahead of the committee releasing its report. The IEP, however, has rejected Benton’s claim that the PSC was “procedurally flawed” and fell short of its confidentiality obligations.

“Taking all these matters into account, we are satisfied that there is no substance in the appellant’s grounds,” said the IEP’s report.

The IEP added that, in essence, Benton “simply disagrees” with the suspension over claiming to a fake Indian gambling investor that he would lobby the UK government on the fictitious firm’s behalf in return for cash.

According to media reports, the IEP’s ruling is widely expected to set in motion a by-election. This could happen if one in ten voters from Benton’s constituency sign a recall petition to remove the MP from office ahead of term.

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