A senior British politician has been sacked from the government following an allegation of “serious misconduct” relating to his behavior at his party’s annual conference.
Prime Minister Liz Truss asked Conor Burns to step down from his role as a minister of state in the trade department and he had the party whip withdrawn, meaning he continues to serve as a member of parliament but not under the banner of the Conservative party.
Burns is the sixth Conservative MP in 18 months to have had the whip withdrawn or to quit politics due to allegations of misconduct.
After the latest scandal, the prime minister is likely to face questions over whether she can reestablish discipline within her party, although government sources have pointed to the quick action taken against Burns as proof Truss will take complaints more seriously than her predecessor Boris Johnson.
“Following a complaint of serious misconduct, the prime minister has asked Conor Burns MP to leave the government with immediate effect,” a statement from the prime minister’s office said.
“The prime minister took direct action on being informed of this allegation and is clear that all ministers should maintain the high standards of behavior – as the public rightly expects.”
Truss had appointed Burns, who was first elected as an MP in 2010, to his first government role less than one month ago.
The allegation relates to Burns’ behavior at the party conference in Birmingham earlier this week, with the incident understood to have allegedly taken place in a hotel bar.
Burns accused the party of a “rush to judgment” in a statement posted on Twitter.
“Earlier I received a call from the Chief Whip Wendy Morton. Ms Morton informed me that a complaint had been received about me and she had passed it to Conservative Campaign Headquarters to investigate.
“I was not given any information about the complaint nor was I asked to provide any information. On the basis of this complaint Ms Morton told me that the whip was being withdrawn and that I was standing down as trade minister. I will fully cooperate with the party’s inquiry and look forward to clearing my name. I hope the party will be as quick to conduct their inquiry as they were to rush to judgment.”