The former Tory MP Chris Pincher has “made arrangements” to resign from the House of Commons, triggering a byelection in the safe seat of Tamworth in Staffordshire.
Days after he lost an appeal against an eight-week suspension from parliament for groping two men at a private member’s club last summer, the former deputy chief whip announced he was standing down as an MP.
In a statement he said: “I have said already that I will not stand at the next general election.
“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.
“I shall make no further comment at this time.”
He has stayed away from Westminster since the allegations against him surfaced and were investigated, with friends saying his mental health had seriously suffered while he figured out what to do next.
His resignation will speed up a byelection process that most observers thought was likely, even if he had resisted the move. Pincher could have clung on, but would probably have faced a recall petition which, if signed by 10% of his constituents, would have triggered a byelection anyway.
Pincher had already announced he did not plan to stand at the next general election.
The Conservatives had a majority of nearly 20,000 in Tamworth at the last election, in 2019.
It should on paper be an easy hold for the Tories, but bigger majorities have been overturned at recent byelections.