A FORMER Tory MP has been suspended from the House of Commons for his role in a lobbying scandal. 

MPs have approved a motion to suspend Blackpool South MP Scott Benton from the Commons for 35 days, following an investigation by parliamentary authorities.

The 35-day suspension period is in excess of the 10-day threshold that triggers a recall petition and potentially a by-election.

Benton was found to have breached Commons rules after he was caught by The Times offering to lobby ministers and table parliamentary questions on behalf of gambling investors.

He appealed against both the finding and the suspension, but in a report published last week an independent panel upheld the Standards Committee’s original decision, saying there had been “no procedural flaw” in the process.

READ MORE: Labour peer wants early Holyrood election if SNP lose MP majority

The panel also described Benton’s arguments against the recommended suspension as “misconceived or erroneous”, finding the sanction was “neither unreasonable nor disproportionate”.

In response, Benton said he was “deeply disappointed” with the outcome, describing the findings as “unjust”.

A further by-election headache in Blackpool South could soon be on the cards for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, following recent defeats to Labour in Kingswood and Wellingborough.

For this to happen, 10% of eligible voters in the constituency would need to sign a recall petition, which would be open to them for six weeks once instigated by a local returning officer.

READ MORE: Labour 'war-gaming risk Nigel Farage becomes Tory leader'

If a by-election followed the Conservatives would be defending a slim majority of 3,690 votes over their nearest opponents, Labour, from whom they took the seat in 2019.

A by-election in Blackpool South would be the fourth such vote held this year, while defeat would be the 11th time the Government has lost a seat in a by-election since the start of the current Parliament in 2019.

After Labour’s two victories last week, the outcome of a third by-election, in Rochdale, remains uncertain after the party was forced to withdraw support from its candidate over comments he made about the Israeli assault on Gaza.