Suspended Somerton and Frome MP resigns with immediate effect

The MP for Somerton and Frome is currently under investigation by a Parliamentary watchdog Credit: PA

David Warburton has formally resigned as the MP for Somerton and Frome, triggering a by-election.

Mr Warburton had announced his resignation over the weekend, hitting out at the “cripplingly glacial pace” of the investigation into his conduct, which has already taken 14 months.

His exit from the Commons was confirmed on Monday with his appointment as Steward and Bailiff of the Manor of Northstead – one of the procedural routes for an MP to quit.

Mr Warburton is currently under investigation by Parliament's harassment watchdog after allegations of sexual harassment and cocaine use.

He has always denied any wrongdoing but had the Conservative Whip removed pending investigation.

In his resignation statement, Mr Warburton said: "The last fourteen months have been extraordinarily difficult as I have sought to fight malicious allegations in two connected investigations, leaving my constituents with less than the full representation in Parliament that they deserve.

"Those making the allegations have been allowed full rein and received no reprimand for treating the confidentiality of the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme with contempt."

Mr Warburton went onto criticise the "flawed investigation" and "cripplingly glacial pace towards a predetermined conclusion".

Meanwhile, a Conservative Party Spokesperson said: “The IGCS is an independent body set up by parliament and the Conservative Party respects its processes. Mr Warburton had the whip withdrawn over these complaints last April and has not sat in parliament as a Conservative since.”

Following the resignation, The Liberal Democrats said the resulting by-election would be a 'clear contest between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives.' 

Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader Daisy Cooper MP said: “The Conservatives have dragged our country through the gutter and taken people for granted. There is no better example of that than in Somerton and Frome. 

 “Time after time the Conservatives have mired themselves in sleaze and scandal neglecting the issues that really matter to people. Then they decided it was ok to leave local people in this seat without any proper representation at all."

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