Stockport-born Tory MP Patrick Mercer quits party whip amid Panorama lobbying scandal allegations

By Reece Lawrence

Stockport-born MP Patrick Mercer has resigned the Tory whip over claims he broke parliamentary rules relating to lobbying.

The 56-year-old MP for Newark and former shadow minister quit the role ahead of a BBC documentary due to be broadcast implicating him in a lobbying scandal.

His resignation means he is no longer a member of the Conservative parliamentary party, but he will not resign his parliamentary seat.

However, he said he had decided not to stand at the next general election in 2015.

In a statement, Mr Mercer said: “Panorama are planning to broadcast a programme alleging that I have broken parliamentary rules.

“I am taking legal advice about these allegations and I have referred myself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

“To save my party embarrassment, I have resigned the Conservative whip and have so informed Sir George Young.”

A Conservative spokesman said Prime Minister David Cameron was aware of the resignation, adding: “He thinks Patrick Mercer has done the right thing.”

Mr Mercer has a history of political controversy – in 2007 he was removed from the Conservative front bench for allegedly making racist comments.

He has also been an outspoken critic of Mr Cameron in the past, reportedly labelling him ‘an arse’ and ‘a most despicable creature’.

Mr Mercer has represented Newark since 2001, and has since served as Shadow Secretary of State for Defence and Shadow Minister for Homeland Security.

Image courtesy of BBC News via YouTube, with thanks.

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