Conservative Minister Conor Burns ‘suspended over alleged misconduct’

Conor Burns MP

The junior trade secretary was also stripped of the whip by the Conservative Party (Image: PA)

A Tory minister has been sacked for allegedly inappropriate behavior at the party conference.

Liz Truss has urged Conor Burns to “resign from government with immediate effect” after a complaint of “grave misconduct” emerged.

The junior trade secretary has also suspended the stick and will sit in the House of Commons as an independent pending an inquiry.

The Bournemouth West MP has accused the party of being judgmental and says he will clear his name.

A spokesman for Number 10 said: “Following a complaint of serious misconduct, the Prime Minister has asked MP Conor Burns to leave government with immediate effect.

“The Prime Minister acted immediately upon being informed of this allegation and understands that all ministers should uphold the high standards of behavior – as the public has a right to expect.”

A Tory whip office spokesman said: “We have suspended the whip pending an investigation into allegations of improper conduct earlier this week.

Minister of State for Northern Ireland Conor Burns during a press conference following a British-Irish Council (BIC) summit at the St Pierre Park Hotel in Guernsey. Picture date: Friday July 8, 2022.

The 50-year-old has been in the House of Commons since 2010, representing a constituency in Bournemouth (Image: PA)

“We take all of these allegations extremely seriously. The Prime Minister has made it clear that the highest standards in public life must be upheld.’

Taking to Twitter, Mr Burns replied: “I just got a call from Chief Whip Wendy Morton.

“Ms Morton informed me that a complaint had been received about me and that she had forwarded it to Conservative Campaign Headquarters for investigation.

“I received no information about the complaint, nor was I asked for information.

“Following this complaint, Mrs. Morton informed me that the stick was being withdrawn and I was resigning as Secretary of Commerce.

“I will fully cooperate with the party’s investigation and look forward to clearing my name.

“I hope the party will conduct its investigation as quickly as it would rush to a verdict.”

The Conservative Party conference took place in Birmingham and ended earlier this week.

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15: (LR) DUP politician Sammy Wilson, Member of Parliament (MP) for East Antrim, Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns and MEP and former leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) Nigel Farage speak at the'Leave Means Rally' at the Bournemouth International Center on October 15, 2018 in Bournemouth, England. Leave Means Leave is a pro-Brexit campaign, running a series of rallies and events across the UK. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Conor Burns, pictured alongside DUP politician Sammy Wilson and Nigel Farage at a Brexit rally, was a supporter of leaving the EU (Image: Getty)

The 50-year-old was first elected in 2010 and was appointed to a role in the trade department by Liz Truss last month.

Before that he had a juniors assignment in Northern Ireland which followed after retiring from his first ministerial post to the back bench.

Mr Burns was forced to step down from another trading role in May 2020 after a Standard Inquiry found he had made “veiled threats” to a member of the public involved in a financial dispute with his father.

It was found that he had attempted to intimidate the recipient of a letter by offering the prospect of using parliamentary privileges to discuss the case publicly.

In response, he tendered his resignation after accepting the findings “unreservedly and without resentment.”

He is considered a close ally of Boris Johnson and was an early supporter of his campaign to become leader of the Conservative Party.

Mr Burns also emerged as one of his most staunch defenders during the Partygate scandal.

His remark that the Prime Minister was “hit by a cake” as details of his lockdown-busting birthday party emerged was met with widespread mockery.

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Justin Scacco

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