Chris Pincher resigned after being accused of groping two men at the Carlton Club in London. Senior Conservative MPs spent the weekend news rounds defending Boris Johnson for appointing Mr Pincher, but the Prime Minister later admitted it was the “wrong thing to do.”
A Downing Street spokesperson told reporters yesterday that the Prime Minister was briefed on a complaint against Mr Pincher in 2019, years before Mr Johnson appointed him Deputy Chief Whip in 2022.
Admitting his mistake, the Prime Minister apologized to “everybody who has been badly affected”.
He added: “I just want to make absolutely clear that there is no place in this government for anybody who is a predator or who abuses their position of power.”
In a resignation letter to the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak wrote “the public rightly expect government to be conducted properly, competently, and seriously.”
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Who would win if there is a by-election in Tamworth?
Mr Pincher lost the Tory whip due to the scandal, meaning he now stands as an independent MP rather than representing the Tories.
Tamworth was a Labor safe seat in 1997, with a majority of almost 10,000 votes when Tony Blair became prime minister.
Mr Pincher won the seat in 2010, turning it blue with 45 percent of the vote and ousting former Labor incumbent Brian Jenkins.
In the 2019 general election, Mr Pincher had increased his majority to 20,000 votes, making it difficult for other parties to challenge for the seat.
However, last month the Lib Dems overturned a 24,000 Tory majority in Tiverton and Honiton, creating a climate for Tory safe seats to swing to opposition parties.
A snap YouGov poll last night showed 69 percent of all voters think Mr Johnson should resign, and a by-election in Tamworth is likely to play into this outrage.
In the national polls Labor maintains a strong lead, with YouGov putting the party five percentage points ahead of the Tories.
If a by-election were held in Tamworth, the Tories’ large majority means they are likely to keep it, but a strong push from Labor could see it turn red.
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What happens next?
Last month, Express.co.uk revealed that Labor and the Lib Dems may work together in elections by not campaigning hard in seats the other party could win.
Dr Thomas Caygill from Notting Trent University said: “While a formal pact between the progressive parties is highly unlikely, we are likely to see informal coordination and tactical voting – particularly at a constituency level.”
This may be the case in a potential Tamworth by-election, as the Lib Dems’ picked up just over 2,000 votes in 2019.
Despite the resignations of Mr Sunak and Mr Javid last night, the Prime Minister has vowed to carry on in his role in Number 10.
But a third by-election defeat in two months would seriously undermine his ability to lead the Conservative Party.
Another no-confidence vote in the Prime Minister is not allowed for another year under 1922 Committee rules, but there is speculation that Tory MPs might try to change this.
If so, it could see Mr Johnson facing his MPs again, and holding onto his job in the midst of civil war in the Government.