David Warburton resigns as Conservative MP, resulting in another by-election for the party.
A Conservative MP who was suspended following sexual misconduct charges has resigned.
David Warburton, who represents Somerton and Frome in Somerset, is the fourth Tory MP to quit in the last eight days.
Mr Warburton described the 14-month period after the claims were published in a national newspaper as “extraordinarily difficult.”
He went on to say that the claims against him were “malicious.”
The MP was accused of using drugs and making unwelcome advances on two women after they and another lady complained to the Sunday Times about his behavior. As a result, he was expelled from the Conservative Party in April of last year.
In an interview with the Mail On Sunday, he announced his retirement and admitted to taking cocaine after drinking “incredibly potent” Japanese whisky.
“I was set up,” he said in the interview, “but I was naive and incredibly stupid.” He went on to refute the harassment allegations leveled against him.
Because of his sudden departure, a by-election will be held in his constituency, which he has represented as an independent since losing the Tory whip. According to Parliament’s website, a writ for a new election is normally issued within three months of the resignation.
Mr Warburton won the seat from the Liberal Democrats in 2015 and was re-elected in 2017 and 2019. In the most recent survey, he won by a margin of 19,213 votes.
“My constituents in Somerton and Frome, who elected me three times with overwhelming majorities, have been denied the voice they require for a year,” Mr Warburton said.
“I am grateful for their many messages of support, and it is with sadness that I must cause the upheaval of a by-election.”