David Warburton, Conservative MP for Somerton and Frome, has resigned with immediate effect.
The Tory MP was accused of sexual assault by two women, and was also being investigated for drug use allegations. David Warburton was suspended from Parliament in April 2022 following these claims.
In his resignation letter, given on the 17th June, David Warburton said that it was with "profound regret" that he would be giving up his seat in the House of Commons.
His constituents in Frome were angry about his year-long absence, with many feeling like they hadn't been represented fairly in Parliament.
In response to his resignation letter posted on Facebook, one user said, "Great news as we will now have a by-election and a voice again. I very much hope that the voters of Somerton and Frome elect a an MP who will be vocal in parliament, raising the issues which matter to us."
The following excerpts have been taken from David Warburton's letter of resignation.
The last fourteen months have been extraordinarily difficult as I have sought to fight malicious allegations in two connected investigations, leaving my constituents with less than the full representation in Parliament that they deserve. Those making the allegations have been allowed full rein and received no reprimand for treating the confidentiality of the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme with contempt. While they have published their claims across the media, I have been prevented by the ICGS from speaking out. I have also been barred – on pain of sanction - from revealing anything of the flawed investigation itself, as it moves at a cripplingly glacial pace towards a predetermined conclusion.
I have been prevented from divulging that it was a full 85 days after the national media detailed claims against me before I was even informed that such investigations existed. That it was 50 further days before I was invited to meet the investigator, who took 63 days to arrange to meet my first witness. ICGS standard guidelines set 5 calendar days between meeting an investigator and receiving from them a transcript or minutes of that meeting. I received mine after 83 days. This disgraceful timeframe has been studiously maintained throughout, to the unutterable detriment to the claimants, to my constituents and to me. [..]
I have been prevented from revealing either that the first investigation against me was dismissed, that the claimant falsified evidence, or that the second claimant was witness to the first and vice-versa. [...]
[...] You will appreciate that given the above, any defence is impossible, by design.
The ICGS is permitted to investigate according to its own rules and, it would seem, in its own time. It answers to no legal obligation. The mechanics of its processes, methodology and procedure as they apply to any one case accept no public or judicial challenge. Indeed, they are not permitted to be discussed. So it is also free to break its own rules and guidelines.
But its decisions affect lives. MPs and staff in Westminster are defenceless – in every sense - to this catastrophic abuse of power. A power wilfully entrenched further by its own conditions of confidentiality.
The obstructions I have outlined reveal a spectacular level of distain for any search for truth, and expose the precarious vulnerability of justice inside the parliamentary estate. This needs to be laid bare. It needs to be addressed. But, in laying it bare, I must resign and step down from parliament.
David Warburton, former MP for Somerton and Frome
In response to his resignation, Sean Dromgoole, Labour candidate for Somerton and Frome, posted the following:
In the last paragraphs of his letter, Warburton thanked his peers at Downing Street for their support, stating, "Without the tremendous support from my superb parliamentary staff and from colleagues across the House, for which I am enormously grateful, I would quite literally not be here."