Chris Pincher petition organisers say MP 'brought shame on the town' after groping allegations

Lewis Warner reports.

The organisers of a petition calling for Tamworth MP Christopher Pincher to resign say they're not currently being represented in Parliament. 

Mr Pincher quit the government after accusations he groped two men in Westminster. He was then suspended from the Conservative Party after further accusations came out which he denies. 

His office says he has taken a "leave of absence" to receive medical attention - leaving constituents feeling unrepresented. 

Claire Rouxto is the organiser of an online petition calling for Mr Pincher to resign.

She told ITV News Central: "We're not being represented by anybody.

"At the end of the day, he has disgraced this town and brought shame on the town for his actions down in Westminster."

She adds: "Anybody else would actually do the honourable thing and just resign but he seems to be happy to just continue taking the taxpayers money and not actually doing anything."

The only way to remove a sitting MP is by a recall petition that could happen if Mr Pincher is suspended from Parliament for 10 days or more.

10% of the local electorate would then have to sign the petition, triggering a by-election. With Tamworth's population at about 78,000, that means campaigners will need around 7,800 people to agree with them. 

Dr Hannah White from the Institute for Government said: "10% is the number of people who have to actually be sufficiently bothered about what an MP has done, go out one of the places within that constituency which is designated as somewhere you can sign a petition and just sign it. 

"We have had an instance where that threshold wasn't met, although 10% is maybe a low bar that still doesn't lead to the removal of the MP. What it does is lead to a by-election where all the constituents can then have a say."

So far, the unofficial petition has reached around 2,000 signatures. 

One signature belongs to Huw Loxton, who is a carer. He said: "An investigation is being done by the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme, a lot of those take up to two years. 

"So why should the people of Tamworth be left with no representation in the time that's going to take? Why shouldn't we be allowed to say now?

"Also, to admit that you've embarrassed yourself and others and therefore resign as Deputy Chief Whip? You should really give your constituents the same honour."

However, local businessman Derek Nickells doesn’t agree.

He said: "All the contact I've ever had with Chris has been positive, to be honest. Anything I've ever asked him about the town centre, anything about small business. 

"He's been in and worked in the shop when we’ve had small business weekends, so I've only really got positive things to say. 

"I’m not interested in any of the allegations, and I do think it was a bit of a set-up to bring down the government."

In a statement, Mr Pinchers' office said: "Chris is now on leave of absence, focused on receiving medical support.

"Chris's constituency team continues to operate as normal both in the office and working from home to deal with constituent queries and support local people on a range of issues."

ITV News Central have also approached his lawyers for a comment.