Boris Johnson has been accused of ignoring allegations against an MP he gave a senior role to.
Up until Thursday, Chris Pincher was one of the prime minister’s key lieutenants, responsible for enforcing discipline among Tory MPs.
He quit after being accused of assaulting two men at a private members’ club, admitting in his resignation letter that he had “drank too much”.
Since his resignation, a number of other allegations against the Tamworth MP have surfaced, raising serious questions about why he was called to the role in the first place.
Long before his appointment, according to former adviser Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister “laughingly referred to him in No 10 as ‘pincher by name, pincher by nature'”.
The Johnson ally was restored to the role after resigning in 2017 when he was faced with allegations of sexual misconduct by a Tory activist.
Alex Story, a former Olympic rower, referred to him as “the pound shop Harvey Weinstein” at the time, but he was acquitted by an internal Tory party inquiry.
Mr Pincher, who denies the allegations against him, got his old job as deputy whip back in February after serving in ministerial capacities.
Mr Johnson is under pressure to explain how much he knew about the allegations circulating in Westminster as he took him to the heart of his flogging operation.
The Mail on Sunday claimed Mr Pincher threatened to report a Parliamentary researcher to her boss after she tried to stop his “lascivious” advances to a young man at a Tory party conference.
Another source told the newspaper the prime minister joked “that he cornered the sex pest market” when noting which MPs linked to rumors of sexual misconduct backed him during the 2019 leadership election.
The Sunday Times claimed Mr Pincher made unwanted passes to two Conservative MPs in 2017 and 2018, including one occasion on which he allegedly called an MP into his office to speak about Wok before making an “undesirable physical foray”. .
An anonymous Tory MP told The Independent he was groped by Mr Pincher twice last month and in December 2021, including at the Tory-linked Carlton Club, where the incident that led to his resignation took place.
He told the newspaper: “He put his hand on my crotch and moved it around.
“I shook my head and said no, I don’t want that, but he does [Mr Pincher] just smiled… he kept going until I could walk away.’
It took around 24 hours for Mr Pincher to be kicked out of the Tory party, even after he resigned, reportedly after other MPs put pressure on Downing Street and admitted he was “embarrassed”.
An unnamed source who claimed to have been attacked by Mr Pincher told the Sunday Times they were “upset that I should feel this way and even more angry at how No 10 handled it… I’m angry” .
He added: “I know it sounds really silly but I was shocked to find out they were going to let him keep the whip at first.”
Mr Pincher has denied all allegations made against him in recent days.
Downing Street did not deny there had been concerns about Mr Pincher prior to his appointment, but insisted Mr Johnson was “not aware of any specific allegations”.
Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey insisted Mr Johnson was not aware of “any concrete claims” about Mr Pincher before making him Deputy Chief Tory Whip.
She told Sky: “I am aware that the Prime Minister was not aware of any specific allegations that were being made.”
In a statement, Mr Pincher said he would “fully cooperate” with the investigation.
He said: “As I told the Prime Minister, I drank way too much on Wednesday night and embarrassed myself and others and I’m really sorry for the uproar I’ve caused.
“The stresses of the past few days, adding to those of the past few months, have made me seek professional medical assistance.
“I am in the process of trying to do that and I hope to be able to return to my constituency duties as soon as possible.”
Metro.co.uk has contacted Mr Pincher for further comments.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/07/03/boris-johnson-turned-blind-eye-to-chris-pincher-allegations-16932580/ Boris Johnson 'closed the allegations of Chris Pincher'