Tories admit they failed to do enough to weed out rogue MPs after scandals


The Conservatives have admitted they must do more to prevent rogue candidates running to be MPs, after the scandal of a Tory convicted for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

Mark Spencer, the Commons leader, blamed having to make “rapid” selections of candidates for recent snap elections for not being able to “scrutinise people” fully.

“The Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, will all have selected candidates quite quickly, not realising a general action was coming,” Mr Spencer said.

“I think we’ll be in a much better place at the next general election, certainly in the [Conservative] party, as we will have taken much more time to scrutinise people. There will be a much longer process.”

The comments come after Westminster has been engulfed in allegations of misogyny, bullying and other bad behaviour, triggering calls for major changes.

Imran Ahmad Khan, elected as the MP for Wakefield at the 2019 general election, was forced to resign after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy at a party in 2008.

Neil Parish, an MP for 12 years, quit after admitting to having watched pornography in the Commons chamber, having been witnessed by two female colleagues.

And a third Tory, David Warburton, was suspended after three women reportedly complained about his conduct. First elected in 2015, the MP also faces allegations about drug use and an undeclared loan from a Russian businessman.

Meanwhile, the Labour MP Liam Byrne was found to have bullied a former staff member and will be suspended from the Commons for two days.

“I don’t think having two rapid general elections in a row has helped parliamentary parties,” Mr Spencer told the House magazine, in parliament.

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