Boris Johnson is facing claims he was briefed on a formal complaint about Chris Pincher’s “improper conduct” that allegedly led to a disciplinary hearing two years ago.
The government was thrown into a new crisis when Mr Pincher resigned last week amid allegations that he groped two men at a private Conservative club. He should deny it.
On Monday morning, Downing Street said the Prime Minister was not aware of any specific allegations before Mr Pincher was appointed Deputy Chief Whip in February.
Hours later, a spokesman admitted he was “aware” of the allegations but insisted that it would have been “inappropriate” for him to intervene as they “either resolved or did not result in a formal complaint”.
Now, the BBC claims Mr Johnson was informed of a formal complaint about Mr Pincher’s “inappropriate conduct” when the MP was Minister at the Foreign Office from 2019-20.
The Cabinet Office oversaw a trial that ended in a report allegedly confirming wrongdoing.
When the disciplinary proceedings came to an end, Mr. Pincher apologized, it is said. The deputy did not comment on this.
The news was also reportedly shared with Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, who was Foreign Secretary at the time.
Downing Street has previously said advice was sought from the Government’s decorum and ethics team before appointing Mr Pincher. They did not advise against the decision.
When questioned this morning, Mr Raab said “what happened was inappropriate” and Mr Pincher was questioned about his behaviour, but formal disciplinary action was not required.
“I have no doubt spoken directly to Chris Pincher and passed it on to the Cabinet Office for that assurance,” he added.
“In a situation like this, where someone has had the courage to come forward, it’s very important that they have trust and confidence in the system.”
The Foreign Office said “robust measures” are in place to respond to allegations of inappropriate conduct”. They added: “It is our long-standing policy not to comment on individual cases”.
It comes as a No 10 staffer claims to The Independent that the Tory leader received a “first-hand account” of inappropriate sexual behavior from Mr Pincher ahead of his appointment as deputy chief whip
He was apparently told this before Mr Pincher was formally appointed Deputy Chief Whip on 8 February and then again in May when reports of inappropriate behavior surfaced. Number 10 has declined to comment on both alleged talks.
A spokesman also declined to comment on a claim by Mr Johnson’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings that the Prime Minister had referred to the MP as a “pincher by name, pincher by nature”.
Another Sky News report claims that Carrie Johnson openly questioned Chris Pincher’s suitability to be a government whip back in 2017.
The news outlet claims to have seen the Prime Minister’s now-wife’s correspondence when she was Director of Communications at CCHQ in 2017.
Mr Pincher previously resigned from the Whips office in 2017 after being accused of unwittingly bypassing an activist.
After an investigation, he was acquitted of any breach of the Tory Party’s code of conduct.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said he had “no sympathy for a Prime Minister who repeatedly makes bad decisions”.
Meanwhile, deputy union leader Angela Rayner has said it was “logical” to investigate the allegations against her before appointing anyone to a new position.
She said: “If you work in human resources, if you’re a unionist or anybody else, and someone says, ‘Oh, I heard that rumor,’ I would want to find out whether that rumor is true or not, rather than just saying, ‘ Well it’s just a rumour, I’ll give you a top job on the welfare of other MPs,’ to be honest.
“I think it speaks to the character of Boris Johnson if that’s how he felt about dealing with it at the time.”
Metro.co.uk has contacted No10 for further comments.
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/07/05/boris-johnson-told-of-pincher-complaint-that-led-to-disciplinary-process-16942177/ Boris Johnson 'told about Pincher complaint which led to disciplinary action'