May 20, 2022, 10:15

    Top Tory risks fury in own party by saying unsuitable MPs were elected in 2017 and 2019

    Top Tory risks fury in own party by saying unsuitable MPs were elected in 2017 and 2019

    The Tory Commons leader has risked angering dozens of his own party's MPs by declaring people elected in snap elections were unsuitable.

    Mark Spencer made the eyebrow-raising comment in an interview with The House, Parliament's in-house magazine.

    He suggested unsuitable candidates were able to stand in the 2017 and 2019 elections because they were announced in a rush.

    He said all parties – but certainly the Conservatives – would deliver a "higher calibre" of candidates at the next election, because it won't be a surprise.

    It comes as Parliament faces mounting accusations of sleaze, sexism and bullying – and a raft of resignations, which sparked by-elections.

    He said: "I think we'll be in a much better place at the next general election, certainly in the [Conservative] party as we will have taken much more time to scrutinise people. There will be a much longer process.”

    Two Tory MPs quit in just a few days last week over scandals involving their behaviour.

    Mr Spencer was first elected in 2010

    POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

    First came Wakefield MP Imran Ahmad Khan, elected in 2019, who was convicted of sexually assaulting a 15 year old boy.

    Then Neil Parish – elected in 2010 – quit after admitting to watching porn in the Commons Chamber.

    “I don't think having two rapid general elections in a row has helped parliamentary parties,” Mr Spencer said.

    “The Labour Party, Liberal Democrats will all have selected candidates quite quickly, not realising a general election was coming.”

    Some 107 Tory MPs were newly elected in 2019, and have formed a close-knit faction within the party.

    Mr Spencer, whose previous job as Chief Whip put him in charge of party discipline, was elected in 2010.

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