Patrick Mercer, a lawmaker in Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party, has resigned from the party after an investigation by the BBC’s “Panorama” program into lobbying.
Mercer said he will stand down at the next general election in 2015 and that he has resigned the Conservative “whip,” meaning he is no longer part of the party in Parliament.
“Panorama are planning to broadcast a program alleging that I have broken parliamentary rules,” Mercer said in a statement released to the Press Association news wire. “I am taking legal advice about these allegations and I have referred myself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. In the meantime, to save my party embarrassment, I have resigned the Conservative whip and have so informed Sir George Young. I have also decided not to stand at the next general election.” Young is the Tory chief whip in charge of enforcing party discipline.
The BBC said that a program about lobbying will be broadcast “as soon as possible.” It also said that it has approached other people involved, without specifying if they are lawmakers.
“BBC Panorama has been investigating lobbying and the conduct of MPs and members of the House of Lords,” the publicly funded broadcaster said in a statement posted on its website. “The investigation has raised a number of issues related to those involved. Panorama has sought responses from a number of people, including Mr. Mercer.”