By-election nears in Somerton and Frome

David Warburton, MP for Somerton and Frome, was suspended by the Conservative Party in April and now faces a Parliamentary investigation:

The Conservatives suspended the whip from Warburton in April after a series of allegations emerged concerning sexual harassment and cocaine use.

It is not the role of the parliamentary commissioner for standards, Kathryn Stone, to investigate these claims. But her office announced on Wednesday that she had launched an inquiry into whether Warburton had broken the code of conduct for MPs on three counts, including paid advocacy and failure to declare a gift or other benefit…

It was the standards commissioner’s inquiry into lobbying by Owen Paterson that led to the former Conservative MP facing a potential suspension from the House of Commons and ultimately resigning, after a botched bid to save him by Boris Johnson…

Any suspension of 10 or more sitting days can trigger a recall election if 10% of voters in the constituency sign a petition calling for one. [The Guardian]

Sarah Dyke was recently selected by the Liberal Democrats for this constituency and in this May’s local elections, the Lib Dems had stunningly good results in the area, including defeating the head of the Conservative Party’s Liberal Democrat unit.

More on the Lib Dem resurgence in Somerset in the recent Beth Rigby piece for Sky News.

UPDATE: The Parliamentary investigation found that he twice broke the rules governing MPs, but did not impose a punishment that could trigger a by-election.

UPDATE 2: The by-election is happening.

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