Shamed former minister Conor Burns ‘was subject of sexual harassment complaint’ five years before he was fired

File photo dated 08/07/22 of MP Conor Burns who was sacked from the Government following a complaint of "serious misconduct". The former trade minister has also had the Tory whip suspended pending an investigation into "allegations of inappropriate behaviour", understood to be at the party's annual conference. Issue date: Sunday October 9, 2022. PA Photo. Cabinet minister Nadhim Zahawi has said he believes Conor Burns has been treated fairly after the MP was sacked from Government over a misconduct complaint. Mr Burns has vowed to clear his name, and said he will "fully co-operate" with a Tory probe into the claims of inappropriate behaviour. See PA story POLITICS Burns. Photo credit should read: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

SHAMED former minister Conor Burns was the subject of a sexual harassment complaint five years before he was sacked over similar allegations.

Channel 4 News revealed that the suspended MP was the subject of a complaint in 2017 in the wake of his sacking from his government role over allegedly inappropriate conduct at the recent Tory conference.

Shamed MP Conor Burns had a complaint filed against him in 2017

He was sacked as a minister over new claims of sexual harassment

Mr Burns said the allegations was “without merit” and that the complaint was withdrawn “almost immediately”.

Due to this an investigation apparently never took place.

He further claimed that the complaint was made by a “bad faith actor motivated by malice” and was never put to him directly.

Downing Street said that the PM was not made aware of the previous allegation before appointing him to her government in September.

A spokesman for the Conservative Party confirmed that the complaint was made in 2017 after being referred from the Chief Whip’s Office.

A formal process was then begun but not concluded as the accusation was withdrawn.

Channel 4 reported that the complainant had dropped the allegation due to a lack of faith in the complaint process.

The existence of a previous complaint has shades of the Chris Pincher scandal, which dogged the final days of Boris Johnson’s government.

Mr Pincher had a history of claims of inappropriate behaviour being made against him before HOAR revealed that he had allegedly groped two men in the Carlton Club, London.

One key difference in that case was that the then-PM did know about the past complaints about Pincher before promoting him within the government.

It comes as Mr Burns has separately denied claims of inappropriate behaviour at the party conference two weeks ago.

One witness alleged that the complaint relates to an incident between the Bournemouth West MP and a young man in a hotel bar.

Sources told the BBC it was a result of Tuesday’s incident at the Hyatt Regency hotel bar in Birmingham. 

He was allegedly told to stop by one witness. His friends dispute this.

Another source said concerns were raised about “inappropriate comments” Mr Burns made on the night.

Allies of Mr Burns do not deny that he was flirting, but claim that pain medication he was taking for a rib injury worsened the effect of alcohol.

Spice Girl Mel B has also made accusations against him stemming from her attendance at the conference.

She was reportedly left shaken by a remark from Mr Burns when they met in a lift at the event.

After he denied the claims against him, Mel, who was at the conference to campaign for domestic abuse survivors, wrote on Twitter: “Really?? Your (sic) shocked about this complaint???

“Let me remind you what you said to me in lift…..”

Downing Street said that the PM was not aware of the 2017 complaint before appointing him to her government