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Clement booted from caucus

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OTTAWA—Longtime Conservative MP Tony Clement was forced out of his party caucus yesterday, the day after he admitted to sending someone sexually-explicit images and a video.

He said in a statement issued Tuesday evening that he had sent the images in the last three weeks to someone he believed to be a “consenting female,” but who later demanded money if Clement didn't want them posted publicly.

Clement initially resigned only as the party's justice critic and from his committee roles; Conservative leader Andrew Scheer didn't ask him to leave the party caucus.

He said he was taking Clement at his word that the “terrible lapse in judgment” had been a one-time thing between two consenting adults.

But after the story broke, allegations washed over social media, largely from young women, that Clement's online behaviour was not so pure.

He's long been known to be a prolific user of social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram. Several people online yesterday said that Clement had used Instagram, in particular, to connect with numerous young women and message them privately.

He spent a lot of time clicking to show he liked their photos.

“New information became available today that suggest there are allegations that this is not an isolated incident and, therefore, I've asked Tony to resign from caucus and he has done so,” Scheer said later in the day.

He said an internal party investigation hadn't started but that, or a Parliamentary one, was not out of the question.

Scheer added the Conservative party has a code of conduct for MPs that he expects them to follow.

“I don't know that too many people . . . have to be told not to share explicit images and videos with people that you haven't met but obviously this is a terrible decision, extremely poor judgment,” Scheer said.

“We have to wait and see what happens in the short term as to what types of complaints officially are raised to obviously respond to that once it happens,” he noted.

Of particular concern in Clement's case was the risk to national security when an MP with top security clearance opened himself up to an extortion attempt.

Clement was an original member of the new National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, created in 2017 to oversee national security and intelligence activities carried out across the government.

Scheer said both the RCMP and the security officials in the Privy Council Office were investigating to determine whether national security had been put at risk.

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