Scott Benton: Former Calderdale councillor and Tory group leader Scott Benton quits as MP after losing suspension appeal sparking by-election in Blackpool South

A former Calderdale councillor has resigned his parliamentary seat after losing an appeal against his suspension as an MP.
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Scott Benton, who is a former leader of the Conservative group on Calderdale Council, faced a recall petition in his Blackpool South constituency following the appeal failure.

A by-election will now be held for the seat.

Mr Benton was suspended last year following a “sting” operation by The Times newspaper in which undercover footage appeared to show Mr Benton saying he could lobby ministers on behalf of the gambling industry for up to £4,000 a month.

Scott BentonScott Benton
Scott Benton
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He had claimed no rules had been broken but the suspension was upheld after the appeal and he has now resigned.

Elected in the 2019 General Election for the Conservatives, Mr Benton had been sitting as an Independent MP after the story led to the party removing the whip.

In a statement to constituents released on Facebook, Mr Benton said: “It’s been the honour of a lifetime to represent our wonderful community in Parliament over the last four years.

“It’s with a heavy heart that I have written to the Chancellor this morning to tender my resignation as your MP.

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“I’d like to thank the hundreds of residents who have sent supportive messages, cards and letters over the last few months and who have urged me to continue and fight the next election.

“The support that so many local people have given to me has made it all worthwhile.”

Mr Benton had referred himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards over the issue and last December was suspended for 35 days over a “very serious breach” of standards rules which “communicated a toxic message about standards in parliament".

The commissioner concluded Mr Benton breached Paragraph 11 of the rules contained in the code of conduct for Members of Parliament.

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Mr Benton had appealed the suspension to the Independent Expert Panel - the body that sits above the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards and the Parliamentary Standards Committee.

The MP represented Brighouse ward on Calderdale Council from 2011 until his election to parliament and also worked in the office of Calder Valley’s Conservative MP Craig Whittaker.

He remained as a Brighouse councillor while he was MP for Blackpool South until 2021.