Conor Burns on track for knighthood as he faces misconduct allegation

Conor Burns fired over ’serious misconduct’ allegations

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An ex-minister sacked by Prime Minister Liz Truss over alleged serious misconduct is said to be in line for a knighthood from Boris Johnson. The former minister has stressed he looks forward to clearing his name and has said he will fully co-operate with a Conservative Party probe into claims of inappropriate behaviour.

Mr Burns is also said to have learned on Friday he is in line for a knighthood in Mr Johnson’s resignation honours list.

However, The Times cited a friend as saying the MP already feared his career was over as a result of the allegation.

On Friday, No10 said Mr Burns had been sacked from the Government following a complaint of serious misconduct.

A No10 spokesman said: “Following a complaint of serious misconduct, the Prime Minister has asked Conor Burns MP to leave the Government with immediate effect.

“The Prime Minister took direct action on being informed of this allegation and is clear that all ministers should maintain the high standards of behaviour – as the public rightly expects.”

Mr Burns said: “Earlier I received a call from the Chief Whip Wendy Morton. Ms Morton informed me 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 On the basis of this complaint Ms Morton told me that the Whip was being withdrawn and that I was standing down as Trade Minister.”

The MP for Bournemouth West added: “I will fully cooperate with the party’s enquiry and look forward to clearing my name. I hope the party will be as quick to conduct their enquiry as they were to rush to judgement.”


The Whips’ Office said the Tory whip had been suspended pending an investigation into “allegations of inappropriate behaviour earlier this week”.

On Saturday, Mr Burns denied ever meeting Mel B after the singer suggested he should not be surprised he is facing a misconduct claim and pointed to remarks she alleges he made to her in a lift.

The Spice Girl, whose full name is Melanie Brown, tweeted the MP in response to a statement he issued on Friday, in which he said he looked forward to clearing his name after the sacking.

Mr Burns has been approached for comment.

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Mel B, who attended the Tory conference to speak about domestic abuse at a fringe event hosted by The Sun and Women’s Aid, questioned whether he should be shocked by the claim.

Quoting part of his statement in a tweet, she wrote: “Really?? Your shocked about this complaint??? Let me remind you what you said me in lift…..” (sic)

Mr Burns, however, told the PA news agency he does not think he has ever met the singer.

He said: “I believe I have never met Mel.”

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson has reportedly nominated up to eight Tory MPs for peerages in his resignation honours list.

It has reportedly prompted frantic efforts by Ms Truss to avoid a series of by-elections.

Mr Johnson is believed to have rewarded loyalists in Westminster with seats in the House of Lords.

The move could provoke disagreement with the Lords authorities because Ms Truss has asked the nominees to defer their appointments until after the next General Election.

At least one MP on the list has been contacted by party whips and urged to delay accepting the peerage and standing down as an MP until after the next election.

Under the plan, those nominated would appear in the resignation honours list, but would remain MPs until a general election. Experts warn this would lead to those nominated being a peer and MP simultaneously.

Lord Norton of Louth, a constitutional expert and Conservative peer, told The Times: “It’s unprecedented. One cannot indicate an intention to accept a peerage at a future date. A peerage is conferred when offered. It is inadvisable and I would not recommend it. It does create all sorts of problems.

“You should only nominate someone at the point where they can accept the peerage.”

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