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UK MPs eroding public trust with 'carousel' of misbehavior

LONDON: From watching pornography in parliament to numerous sexual assault allegations, British lawmakers in the current parliament have engaged in a range of bad behaviour that experts say is eroding trust in politics.

A MP suspended himself from the Conservative parliamentary party this week over claims he misused campaign funds, becoming the latest in a long list of Tories accused of misconduct recently.

The scandals are leading to calls for the UK parliament to clean up its act, as Britain readies to head to the polls in a general election due later this year.

They are also adding to a sense that this Tory government — in power for 14 years —is nearing the end of its days at the helm.

«Just when you think that must be it, the Tories get hit by another sleazy sandal,» Tim Bale, politics professor at Queen Mary University of London, told AFP.

«It will just confirm what most voters, according to opinion polling, seem to think — namely that this government has simply run its course and needs to be put out of its misery sooner rather than later.»

Mark Menzies lost his job as a government trade envoy on Thursday after The Times newspaper reported that he allegedly used thousands of pounds of money given by donors to pay for medical expenses.


Menzies, 52, is also accused of paying «bad people» £6,500 ($8,000) after they apparently locked him in a flat in the middle of the night after he went drinking with a man he met on an online dating site.

He strongly denies wrongdoing and the Tories are investigating.

The case comes after Conservative MP William Wragg resigned his party whip earlier this month for giving the phone numbers of other MPs to a person he met on the dating app Grindr. He said he feared the person had compromising information on him.

Elsewhere, Scott Benton quit as a Conservative MP last month after being caught in a lobbying sting, while ex-Tory lawmaker Peter Bone resigned after an inquiry found he subjected a staff member to bullying and sexual misconduct.


Another two Tories recently had the whip withdrawn over sexual assault allegations while a colleague was suspended at the end of last year after being convicted of racial