Senior UK Conservative resigns in wake of conduct scandals

LONDON — A senior U.K. Conservative MP will stand down as a vice-chair of the party.

Andrew Bowie’s resignation comes as Boris Johnson’s government is engulfed in a row over its handling of a raft of scandals surrounding its MPs’ conduct.

Bowie said on Twitter he had decided to “step back from the demands of the role to focus on representing my constituents.” He will remain in his post until a successor is found.

It was reported Tuesday by the Reaction news website that Bowie felt unable to support the government after its handling of the sleaze row that enveloped former senior Conservative MP Owen Paterson.

Conservative MPs were told to vote to overhaul the rules on House of Commons standards and park Paterson’s suspension. Following a backlash, the government U-turned on the plan.

No. 10 is also under pressure following allegations the Conservative former Attorney General Geoffrey Cox broke rules by using his parliamentary office to carry out private work advising a British Virgin Islands inquiry. Cox earned hundreds of thousands of pounds in the second job.

In a statement, Cox said he would “fully cooperate” with an investigation but “does not believe that he breached the rules.” Bowie has not responded to a request for further comment.

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