Disgraced former Tory whip Chris Pincher has said he will resign as an MP after losing his appeal against a suspension for drunken behaviour.
The resignation means another difficult by-election battle for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his Conservative party, who are trailing Labour in opinion polls and have won only one of the last three by-elections.
Mr Pincher announced he was stepping down on Thursday when he lost an appeal against his punishment – which was an eight-week suspension from Parliament – for drunkenly groping two men.
“I do not want my constituents to be put to further uncertainty,” he said. “I have made arrangements to resign and leave the Commons.”
The Standards Committee ruled in July that the MP's conduct was “profoundly damaging” and amounted to an abuse of power. Parliament’s Independent Expert Panel dismissed his appeal on Monday.
The vote to replace him will be held on the same day as a by-election to replace former culture minister Nadine Dorries, a critic of Mr Sunak. That vote is being held on October 19.
“I have said already that I will not stand at the next general election,” Mr Pincher said.
“However, following the Independent Expert Panel's decision I wanted to talk to my office team and family.
“I do not want my constituents to be put to further uncertainty, and so in consequence I have made arrangements to resign and leave the Commons.
“Tamworth is a wonderful place and it has been an honour to represent its people.”
Mr Pincher was suspended for groping two men at a London club last year.
He has been comfortably voted for by Tamworth residents since 2010 and won a 19,634-vote majority at the last general election.
Ms Dorries announced her own resignation last week with a bitter attack on Mr Sunak.
The Tories have held that seat since 1931, with Ms Dorries having a 24,664-vote majority in 2019 over Labour.
Asked about his party's prospects in the by-elections, Mr Sunak said: “Midterm by-elections are always difficult for incumbent governments and these will be no different, but we're going to keep working hard to deliver for the British people.”