A Conservative MP who has attempted to fight gay rights laws is at the centre of a bizarre series of events in the Commons today.
Bob Spink has had the whip withdrawn after threatening the Chief Whip with resignation.
He accused the party of not doing enough to stop him from being deselected from his Castle Point seat.
Since entering the Commons in 1992 Mr Spink has consistently opposed gay rights.
He voted against civil partnerships, gay adoption and the abolition of Section 28.
In January Mr Spink was one of a small group of Christian MPs who attempted to weaken the new offence of incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation currently under consideration.
The government and the frontbenches of the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives both support the legislation, but a few MPs from the three main parties have signed up to an amendment which effectively permitted “ministers of religion” to express homophobia.
In a letter released today Tory Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin said:
“As a matter of good party discipline I cannot have MPs making threats to resign the whip at a time of their own choosing, if the demands of the party are not met.
“I must therefore treat your resignation as taking immediate effect.”
The BBC reports that Mr Spink faces deselection by the Castle Point Conservative Association at a meeting next week.
He claims that enemies among senior members of the association.
Today he made a point of order during the Budget debate to highlight his plight.
“Mr Deputy Speaker, I wonder if you could advise me how I can proceed to inform the House that I have, as of today, resigned the Conservative Party whip because the Conservative Party has failed to deal with serious criminal and other irregularities in my constituency,” he said.
Deputy Speaker Sir Alan Haselhurst interrupted him, commenting that the House was now aware.
Mr Spink was an MP from 1992 to 1997 when he lost his seat. He was re-elected for Castle Point in 2001.
He is the second Tory MP this year to have the whip removed.
Derek Conway had paid two of his sons from public money for “work” as a researcher.
Mr Conway announced he is stepping down from Parliament at the next election after being censured by the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee for paying his son Frederick £50,000.
He was suspended from the Commons for ten days.
No evidence of any work done was discovered. At the time his son was a fulltime undergraduate student at Newcastle University.
Mr Conway is the MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup in outer London.
David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative party, decided to remove the whip from Mr Conway, effectively isolating him in Parliament.