Westminster sleaze and scandals: All the MPs who are suspended or have lost the whip

Another day in Westminster, another party whip suspended or withdrawn – as allegations of sleaze, dishonesty or failure to uphold parliamentary standards land yet another MP in hot water.

Mark Menzies, the Tory MP for Fylde and a government trade envoy, is under investigation over allegations that he misused campaign funds and abused his position after making a late-night phone call saying he’d been locked up by “bad people” demanding thousands of pounds.

Mr Menzies, who has relinquished the Tory whip pending the results of the internal party probe, now finds himself among 18 MPs who currently sit as independents, having lost their party whip since the 2019 general election.

The growing number of independents has outnumbered the Lib Dems as the Commons’ fourth-largest cohort of MPs since January 2023, and now includes eight former Tories, seven former Labour MPs, along with one each from the SNP, DUP and Plaid Cymru.

The Independent takes a look at the group of independents – and those who are no longer MPs – below:


Matt Hancock

While Matt Hancock’s ministerial career was ended by a steamy lockdown-busting affair with his aide Gina Coladangelo, his time as a Tory MP came to an end only when he signed up for I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!

The former health secretary, who dined on camel’s penis during the 2022 instalment of the show, was suspended by chief whip Simon Hart for his appearance in the contest.

Mr Hancock, who is quitting as an MP at the next election, came third in the end behind actor Owen Warner and footballer Jill Scott.

He has denied that his “primary” motivation for going on the show was monetary, adding that a £10,000 donation to charity from his £320,000 fee was a “decent sum”.

Former health secretary Matt Hancock (PA Wire)
Former health secretary Matt Hancock (PA Wire)

Bob Stewart

Bob Stewart surrendered the Conservative whip after being convicted of a racially aggravated public order offence.

The Beckenham MP, who is also a former British Army officer and United Nations commander in Bosnia, was found guilty at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court in 2023 of racially abusing an activist by telling him to “go back to Bahrain”.

But the conviction has since been quashed by Southwark Crown Court, with a judge concluding his comment had not caused Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei harassment, alarm, or distress.

Andrew Bridgen

Andrew Bridgen was expelled by the Tories for comparing the side effects of Covid vaccines to the Holocaust.

He briefly joined actor Laurence Fox’s controversial Reclaim Party, but quit that last December and now sits as an independent.

Andrew Bridgen has compared Covid vaccines to the Holocaust (Tom Pilgrim/PA Wire)
Andrew Bridgen has compared Covid vaccines to the Holocaust (Tom Pilgrim/PA Wire)

Julian Knight

Senior Tory Julian Knight had the whip suspended in December 2022 after it emerged that he was the subject of an allegation of serious sexual assault reported to the Metropolitan Police.

The investigation was subsequently referred to Essex Police, who closed the inquiry in February this year after deciding there was insufficient evidence to bring charges.

Mr Knight welcomed the decision, saying he would take “a little time now to choose my next steps and recover my mental health” and adding that he would “under no circumstances” seek the return of the Conservative whip.

Rob Roberts

Rob Roberts was suspended by the Conservatives in May 2021 after parliamentary authorities found he had made repeated and unwanted advances towards a member of staff.

Mr Roberts apologised for his actions and was suspended from the Commons for six weeks, with several MPs urging him to resign.

Crispin Blunt

Crispin Blunt had the Conservative whip withdrawn following his arrest on suspicion of rape and possession of controlled substances in October 2023.

He remains on police bail and has said he is “confident” the investigation will not result in a charge.

William Wragg

Former select committee chairman and vice-chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservative MPs gave up his party’s whip earlier this month after being implicated in a Westminster honeytrap scandal.

Mr Wragg admitted giving the personal phone numbers of some of his colleagues to a man he met on a dating app, who subsequently contacted those people in a suspected scam.

The MP said he had passed on the numbers because he feared the man would otherwise release compromising information about him.

William Wragg gave up the Tory whip earlier this month (Parliament TV)
William Wragg gave up the Tory whip earlier this month (Parliament TV)

Mark Menzies

Mark Menzies lost the Conservative whip late on Wednesday after The Times published allegations that he had misused campaign funds.

The MP is alleged to have used money from donors to cover medical expenses and to reimburse staff who provided him with thousands of pounds to pay off “bad people” who had locked him in a flat. Mr Menzies disputes the allegations and is the subject of an internal investigation by the Conservative Party.

Chris Pincher

Chris Pincher lost the Conservative whip in July 2022, the day after he resigned as deputy chief whip following allegations that he had groped two men at the Carlton Club in London the previous evening.

The fallout from the incident led to Boris Johnson’s resignation as prime minister a week later.

Mr Pincher resigned as an MP in September 2023, after losing his appeal against an eight-week suspension over the allegations.

David Warburton

The Conservatives removed the whip from David Warburton in April 2022 after the Sunday Times reported that allegations of sexual harassment and cocaine use had been made against him.

He resigned as an MP in June 2023, alleging had been denied a fair hearing by the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS), which was investigating the claims – denying allegations of unwanted sexual comments and advances.


Jeremy Corbyn

Former party leader Jeremy Corbyn had the whip removed and was suspended by the party in 2020 after responding to a highly critical report on antisemitism within the party by saying the scale of the problem had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons”.

He subsequently had his party membership reinstated and attempted to clarify his comments by saying concerns about antisemitism are “neither ‘exaggerated’ nor ‘overstated’”. However, current Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has refused to readmit him to the ranks.

Labour had more than 500,000 party members when Jeremy Corbyn was leader (James Speakman/PA)
Labour had more than 500,000 party members when Jeremy Corbyn was leader (James Speakman/PA)

Diane Abbott

The veteran Labour MP lost the whip in April last year after writing a letter to The Observer in which she suggested Jewish, Irish and Traveller people are not subject to racism “all their lives”.

She subsequently apologised, suggesting “errors arose” in her initial draft letter to the newspaper, but remains subject to an internal investigation by the Labour Party and has not had the whip returned to her.

Nick Brown

Long-serving Labour MP and former chief whip Nick Brown lost the whip in September 2022 pending the outcome of an internal investigation into a complaint against him, which he has said is concerned with a matter 25 years previously. The nature of the complaint has not been made public.

He announced in December that he would not stand again as an MP and had resigned from the Labour Party, calling the long-running investigation a “complete farce” which was “so fundamentally, and inexcusably, flawed that I can no longer engage with it”. He said: “To be clear; the accusations against me were, and remain, entirely false, without even the faintest germ of any truth to them.”

Conor McGinn

Labour suspended Conor McGinn in December 2022 pending an internal party investigation into a complaint against him. The nature of the complaint has not been made public but in a statement at the time, Mr McGinn issued a statement saying he “strongly rejected any suggestion of wrongdoing”.

Claudia Webbe

Claudia Webbe has sat as an independent since September 2020, when she lost the whip after being charged with harassment.

She was convicted of the offence a year later and given a suspended 10-week prison sentence and ordered to do 200 hours of community service.

In May 2022, she lost an appeal against her conviction, but had her sentence reduced to 80 hours of community service.

MP Claudia Webbe has sat as an independent since September 2020 (PA Media)
MP Claudia Webbe has sat as an independent since September 2020 (PA Media)

Geraint Davies

Labour withdrew the whip from Geraint Davies over allegations of sexual harassment made in June last year. He is also facing allegations that he “boasted” about bringing sex workers into Parliament for drinks.

The party is carrying out its own investigation into the claims, which Mr Davies denies.

Kate Osamor

Labour suspended the whip from Kate Osamor over comments she made in January 2024 in which she appeared to say in a post about Holocaust Memorial Day that the war in Gaza should be remembered as a genocide. Ms Osamor apologised for “any offence caused” by her remarks but remains suspended.

Another Labour MP suspended over remarks about the ongoing conflict in Gaza, Andy McDonald, had the whip restored in March after an investigation found he had not broken party rules.


Angus Brendan MacNeil

Veteran SNP MP Angus Brendan MacNeil was expelled from the party in August 2023 following a long-running dispute with its leadership.

He was initially suspended from the SNP’s parliamentary party in July 2023 after a row with chief whip Brendan O’Hara, reportedly over his attendance record at Commons votes, but then refused to rejoin the group once his suspension ended.

In a statement, he accused the party of a lack of urgency in pursuing independence and was then expelled, with the SNP saying MPs should not “pick and choose” when they hold the party whip.

Angus Brendan MacNeil was expelled from the SNP last August (PA Media)
Angus Brendan MacNeil was expelled from the SNP last August (PA Media)

Margaret Ferrier

Margaret Ferrier was suspended by the SNP in October 2020 after it emerged she had broken lockdown rules by travelling to and from London to attend Parliament despite experiencing Covid-19 symptoms and later testing positive for the virus.

In August 2022, Ms Ferrier admitted breaking Covid rules and a month later was ordered to complete 270 hours of community payback by a court in Glasgow.

Following a lengthy parliamentary probe into her actions, she was suspended from the House of Commons for 30 days in June 2023. Following a recall petition, Ms Ferrier announced in August she would not challenge for her seat in the resulting by-election.

Plaid Cymru

Jonathan Edwards

Plaid Cymru withdrew the whip from Jonathan Edwards in May 2020 after the MP was arrested on suspicion of assault. He later accepted a police caution for assaulting his wife.

In August 2022, Plaid Cymru said it would readmit Mr Edwards to its Westminster group, but the MP chose to remain an Independent after his wife denounced the decision, saying this would allow a “period of calm reflection”.


Sir Jeffrey Donaldson

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson resigned as leader of the DUP in March after he was charged with historical sex offences.

The 61-year-old politician is due to appear in court in Newry, County Down, on 24 April, having been arrested and charged in relation to non-recent sexual allegations. According to the BBC, a letter from Sir Jeffrey was shared after he was charged, including his strenuous denial of the allegations.

Additional reporting by PA