Rishi Sunak hit by double whammy by-election nightmare on MPs’ first day back

Nadine Dorries in 'first TV interview since resigning'

Rishi Sunak’s first day back at work after the quiet summer recess has been upended by the news he now faces two near-certain by-election defeats in the coming weeks.

First, his Chief Whip moved the writ on Nadine Dorries’ old seat of Mid Bedfordshire, promising the long-awaited vote will be held in mid-October.

The move to call the by-election upended Lib Dem plans to move their own motion and bounce the Government into it.

It also prevents the vote from taking place just one day after Mr Sunak’s make-or-break conference speech in Manchester, in which he is hoping to change the fortunes of his party.

Mr Sunak was also dealt a blow this morning as disgraced MP Chris Pincher lost his appeal against an eight-week suspension after being found guilty of drunkenly groping men at the private members Carlton Club.

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Mr Pincher’s actions ultimately sparked the downfall of Boris Johnson’s premiership, and was suspended by the Tory Party days after the scandal emerged.

The Independent Expert Panel dismissed an appeal by Mr Pincher, claiming his arguments against the lengthy Commons suspension were “misconceived or erroneous”.

Mr Pincher argued that the behaviour code for MPs applied to aspects of their public life, but the scandal hit in private.

He also said his actions hadn’t brought significant damage to the reputation of the Commons as a whole, just himself and Boris Johnson.

He argued that because he resigned as a minister, has promised not to stand at the election and has cooperated with the investigation, the eight week sentence isn’t fair.

Mr Pincher also argued that an eight week suspension would deprive his constituents of the “very good standard of service” he has always given them.

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Now his appeal has failed, an eight week suspension will allow his constituents to vote in a recall petition.

If 10 percent of registered voters back the petition – as happened in Scotland with Margaret Ferrier – Mr Pincher will lose his seat and a by-election will be called.

Mr Pincher could, however, cut the process short and merely resign preemptively.

It would be the seventh by-election this year, with the Tories holding on to just one so far in Uxbridge and South Ruislip.

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