A former Conservative Member of Parliament, facing the prospect of being ousted by his constituents, has declared his resignation from the parliamentary seat he holds, thereby triggering another electoral contest.

Scott Benton, the representative for Blackpool South, expressed that serving the vibrant community of Blackpool in parliament for the past four years has been a profound honour. “It’s with a sense of regret that I inform the Chancellor this morning of my decision to resign as your Member of Parliament,” he conveyed in a statement posted on X.

His departure necessitates a by-election unless an earlier general election is called by Rishi Sunak, a scenario deemed unlikely after he dismissed the possibility of holding an election on 2nd May and reiterated his aim for the latter half of the year.

The initiation of the by-election process involves the formal submission of a writ in parliament, seeking the agreement of Members of Parliament to proceed with the by-election. Sources indicate that the writ for the Blackpool South by-election is slated to be presented tomorrow, potentially aligning the by-election date with the local elections on 2nd May.

Mr. Benton, who secured his seat in 2019, faced a recall petition subsequent to his suspension from the House of Commons for 35 days due to his involvement in a lobbying scandal. Last month, MPs endorsed the suspension without the necessity of a vote. His potential removal would have been instigated had 10% of his constituents supported the recall petition, a measure initiated following his suspension.

The former MP had his Conservative Party membership suspended in April after being caught in a newspaper sting operation where he indicated a willingness to flout lobbying regulations for financial gain. A subsequent inquiry by parliament’s Standards Committee deemed his actions a “very serious breach” and recommended his suspension. Despite his appeal, which was dismissed by the Independent Expert Panel, the apex body overseeing such matters, his suspension stood.

This upcoming by-election marks the 23rd such event in this parliamentary term, following the recent contest in Rochdale, won by George Galloway. Earlier this month, Mr. Sunak dispelled speculations of an early general election on 2nd May. The Prime Minister had previously expressed his anticipation of a general election in the latter part of the year, though he hadn’t explicitly ruled out a May election date.

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