Fresh headache for Rishi Sunak as Tory MP investigated

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is facing a fresh headache after Parliament’s standards watchdog confirmed it had placed Tory MP Miriam Cates under investigation.

The backbench MP – who represents Penistone and Stocksbridge – is facing claims that she has caused “significant damage to the reputation of the House as a whole, or of its members generally”, according to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

It is not yet clear what the investigation relates to.

The details of investigations by the Standards Commissioner, Daniel Greenberg, are kept confidential until the inquiry is concluded and those under investigation are barred from discussing the allegations.

Ms Cates in 2019 and has become a leading figure of the right-wing New Conservatives group alongside fellow backbencher Danny Kruger.

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She has also been outspoken in her concern about declining fertility rates in Britain, calling for policies to promote marriage and having children.

Ms Cates is one of eight MPs currently being investigated by the Standards Commissioner, including Deputy Speaker Dame Eleanor Laing, veteran conservative Sir Bernard Jenkin and Reclaim MP Andrew Bridgen.

The latest investigation comes at a time when Mr Sunak is under considerable pressure with less than a year to go before the next general election.

Last week, Scott Benton, Tory MP for Blackpool South, was censured by the Commons Standards Committee, which concluded that he had committed a “very serious breach” of lobbying rules.

The committee recommended that Mr Benton should be suspended from the House for 35 days.

The decision opens the way for a recall petition which could trigger another difficult by-election for the Tories.

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