Nadine Dorries finally quit as an MP earlier this month.
The prime minister was told it was “hugely embarrassing” that the former cabinet minister was still allowed to be a Conservative backbencher despite not carrying out a constituency surgery in more than three years.
Dorries eventually quit as the MP for Mid Bedfordshire earlier this month after she was denied a peerage in Boris Johnson’s resignation honours list.
On BBC Radio Three Counties, which covers Dorries’ former constituency, this morning, presenter Babs Michel told Sunak: “The way that this whole thing has been carried out, the way that she’s behaved, it literally goes against everything that you stand for, doesn’t it?”
The PM replied: “I’m not focused on the past, I’m focused on the future.”
But Michel said: “Don’t people deserve better in Mid Beds? Don’t we deserve better than we’ve had?”
Sunak said that was why people in the constituency should vote for the Tory candidate, Festus Akinbusoye, in next month’s by-election.
He added: “Festus isn’t responsible for Nadine Dorries’ behaviour.”
But the presenter told the PM: “No, you are, and you’re her direct line boss, so why didn’t you deal with that situation? I think that’s what we’re struggling to understand, Why didn’t you deal with that situation as her boss?”
Sunak: “The way it works for MPs is slightly different in that they are elected by their constituents and we have a separate process for them stopping the job that they’re in, which is reliant on them - it’s not my ability to do that.
“People might not understand that but ultimately people elect their MPs, regardless of who the prime minister is.”