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UK junior minister Burns sacked after misconduct complaint

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LONDON — British lawmaker Conor Burns was sacked as a junior trade minister on Friday and suspended from the parliamentary Conservative Party following a “complaint of serious misconduct” at its annual conference this week.

Prime Minister Liz Truss sacked Burns from a role in the Department for International Trade, a role he had held for one month, her office said.

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“Following a complaint of serious misconduct, the Prime Minister has asked Conor Burns MP to leave the government with immediate effect,” a spokesperson for Truss’ Downing Street office said.

“The prime minister took direct action on being informed of this allegation and is clear that all ministers should maintain the high standards of behavior – as the public rightly expects.”

Burns said the party told him of a complaint but he was given no information about it and was not asked to provide any.

“I will fully cooperate with the party’s enquiry and look forward to clearing my name. I hope the party will be as quick to conduct their enquiry as they were to rush to judgment,” Burns said.

Conservative lawmakers and party members had gathered for a four-day conference in Birmingham, central England, which ended on Wednesday.

Truss became prime minister last month, replacing Boris Johnson who quit in the aftermath of a scandal involving another Conservative lawmaker, who held a government role involved in pastoral care but resigned over allegations of inappropriate behavior.

The nature of the allegation against Burns was not immediately apparent. His suspension as a Conservative lawmaker was first reported by the Sun newspaper.

“We have suspended the whip (membership of parliamentary party) pending investigation into allegations of inappropriate behavior earlier this week,” said a spokesman for the whips’ office, which is in charge of party discipline. “We take all such allegations extremely seriously.” (Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar and Alistair Smout; editing by William James; Editing by Mark Porter)