Tory former whip Chris Pincher has lost his appeal against an eight-week suspension from the Commons following allegations he drunkenly groped two men at London’s exclusive Carlton Club.
It paves the way for a potential by-election in his Tamworth seat.
The Commons Standards Committee in July recommended a lengthy suspension for Mr Pincher after it found that the MP’s conduct last summer was “profoundly damaging” and amounted to an abuse of power.
Boris Johnson’s handling of the row over his former chief whip was the final nail in the coffin of his premiership, triggering his resignation last year after an exodus of ministers from his administration.
Mr Pincher, who remains MP for Tamworth, lodged an appeal against the committee’s findings arguing it was disproportionate.
But Parliament’s watchdog, the Independent Expert Panel (IEP), on Monday dismissed his appeal and upheld the Standards Committee’s recommended sanction.
Ministers are on Monday also expected to move the writ to hold a vote in Mid Bedfordshire, the seat vacated by Nadine Dorries.
The Liberal Democrats are favourite to win the formally safe Conservative seat.
The party’s chief whip Wendy Chamberlain said: “The Conservatives have left the people of Mid Bedfordshire without proper representation for over a year. Rishi Sunak wanted to delay another humiliating defeat for the Conservative Party for as long as possible and we forced his hand.”