Boris Johnson ally Ross Thomson stands down after sexual assault claim
A key ally of Boris Johnson has said he will not stand in the election following an accusation of sexual assault by Scottish Labour MP Paul Sweeney.
Ross Thomson, the current MP for Aberdeen South, has now faced several claims of sexual assault whilst drinking the Strangers Bar at the House of Commons.
Sweeney came forward about the incident, which took place October 2018 and was witnessed by fellow MPs and visitors, after seperate accusations in similar circumstances in February.
The matter is still the subject of investigation by the Common's standards body, which operates in secret.
Thomson originally said he would still stand as the Conservative candidate on Sunday, but hours later he released a second statement to the media saying he would stand down.
The Tory MP has strenously denied all claims made against him, and accused Paul Sweeney of a "political smear".
Originally serving as an MSP from 2016, Ross Thomson was elected in 2017. Confirming his intentions to quit the election, he said: "I always believed politics was about noble pursuits and doing what you believed to be best for your country.
"My experience is that our politics is now so poisonous that we will never attract good, honest and decent people in the first place.
"This has been without doubt the hardest decision of my life. I remain confident that the ongoing parliamentary standards process will find in my favour, and that these baseless claims will be shown up for what they are.
"As I have already said I will continue to explore all options available to me in response to the defamatory and damaging allegations made by Mr Sweeney."
Responding to Thomson's denials, a spokesperson for Paul Sweeney said they showed him to be 'unrepentant'.
"This assault, which took place last October, was reported to the appropriate authorities after similar but entirely separate allegations were made by other men against Ross Thomson in February.
"In light of the failure of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards to resolve this matter before the General Election Mr Sweeney feels it is important that voters in Thomson's constituency should be aware of his behaviour as their representative at Westminster.
"Thomson's denials today fly in the face of what was witnessed by other MPs and visitors and show him to be utterly unrepentant. It is time for him to face up to his behaviour and accept that he is unfit to hold public office."
Image: Twitter/Ross Thomson