Tory MP resigns from Commons in wake of BBC/Telegraph undercover sting

Conservative MP Partrick Mercer has announced his resignation from the House of Commons just under a year after being secretly filmed by BBC Panorama agreeing to accept cash for lobbying.

Working with the Daily Telegraph, Panorama set up a fake company, Alistair Andrews Communications, and filmed Mercer talking to an undercover reporter posing as a lobbyist.

Mercer can be heard on the film saying: “I do not charge a great deal of money for these things. I would normally come out at £500 per half day, so £1,000 a day."

Panorama paid Mercer £4,000 for working two days a month at a rate of £2,000 per month, but said that the money was not declared to the parliamentary authorities.

A report into his conduct to be published on Thursday will see him banned from the Commons for six months.

Announcing his resignation last night Mercer said: "No point shilly-shallying or trying to avoid it. What has happened, has happened. I am ashamed of it. Therefore I am going to do what I can to put it right for the constituency of Newark

There will now be a by-election in Newark, a safe Tory seat, and there has been speculation UKIP leader Nigel Farage could stand.

Mercer had already resigned the Tory whip and said he woudl not stand at the next election.

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