A British parliamentary standards committee has recommended that a member of parliament (MP), Scott Benton, be suspended for giving the impression he was “corrupt and 'for sale'” to a fictitious gambling company.
In April, Benton was the target of a sting operation by The Times, which alleged he offered to lobby for a fictitious group of investors and submit parliamentary questions on their behalf.
Benton is an MP for Blackpool South, sitting as an independent after being suspended.
If enacted by parliament, the recommended 35-day suspension could trigger a recall petition that could lead to a by-election, or an off-year election, for his seat.
Benton chaired an All-Party Parliamentary Group on Betting and Gaming, and appeared on a panel this year in which he described himself as representing a constituency with more gambling jobs than any other in the country.
The standards committee said Benton’s actions were an “extremely serious breach” of the rules.
The message he gave to the undercover reporters was “that he was corrupt and ‘for sale’, and that so were many other members of the House”, the committee report said.
“He communicated a toxic message about standards in parliament. We condemn Mr. Benton for his comments, which unjustifiably tarnish the reputation of all MPs”, the committee wrote.