A FORMER Tory MP has lost an appeal against a proposed suspension from the House of Commons after he was caught in a lobbying sting.

Blackpool South MP Scott Benton was suspended from the Tory parliamentary party last April after suggesting to an undercover reporter at The Times he would be willing to break lobbying rules for money.

A subsequent investigation by the standards committee found he had committed a “very serious breach” of the rules and recommended a 35-day suspension from the House of Commons.

It paves the way for a fresh by-election for the Tories, who have already lost a record amount of seats this parliament.

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

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

It comes after Labour recently won the seat of Wellingborough from the Conservatives – overturning a majority of more than 18,000 in the largest swing from the Tories to Labour since 1994.

Voters will also take to the polls again in Rochdale next week as constituents vote for a new MP to replace the late Sir Tony Lloyd.

The Conservatives won Blackpool South in 2019 with a majority of just 3,690, raising the prospect of another difficult by-election for the Prime Minister after losses in Wellingborough and Kingswood last week.

Labour called on Benton to resign immediately rather than wait for the outcome of any recall petition.

Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow paymaster general, said: “Scott Benton should do the decent thing and resign, saving the people of Blackpool South a lengthy recall petition that would leave them without the representation they deserve.

“This is yet another by-election caused by Tory scandal. Britain deserves better than this carousel of Conservative chaos.

“Labour’s Chris Webb is Blackpool born and bred, and ready to deliver a fresh start for Blackpool South.”