Daniel Korski has withdrawn from the Conservative race for mayor of London after he was accused of groping a TV producer.
In a statement, he said: “It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to withdraw from the Conservative mayoral race.”
Mr Korski added he was “proud” of his campaign, but the ongoing debate over the allegations against him had become a “distraction” for the mayoral election.
His decision to retire came after TV producer Daisy Goodwin filed a formal complaint accusing him of groping her at 10 Downing Street a decade ago.
The alleged incident took place when Mr Korski was special adviser to then Prime Minister David Cameron.
Ms Goodwin filed a complaint with the Cabinet Office, adding that it was “more difficult than trying to get a telephone technician”.
She also posted a picture on Instagram showing an automated reply to her email.
“I sent an email at 5pm yesterday saying I wanted to make a complaint about Daniel Korski – and who to speak to,” she added.
Mr. Korski had “categorically” rejected the allegations against him.
DANIEL KORSKIS STAMENT COMPLETE
I categorically reject the allegation against me. Ten years ago I was never officially presented with anything. Not even seven years ago, when the allegation was made. There has never been an investigation. I have made it clear that I would welcome any investigation and would participate constructively in it.
However, the pressure on my family from this false and unproven claim and the inability to get my ‘London Dream’ message heard make it impossible for me to continue my campaign.
I’m proud of having led a positive campaign championing new ideas, technology and talent, and of the years I’ve campaigned for the Conservative Party and for improving the lives of Londoners.
I firmly believe that Londoners deserve an uplifting and positive vision for their city. I have tried very hard to offer this.
The news agenda is increasingly distracting from race and the Conservative Party.
I wish the excellent remaining candidates well and know that the eventual Conservative Party nominee will beat Sadiq Khan and offer the kind of renewal that London so badly needs. I will do my utmost to support the Conservative Party and the future Conservative candidate.
Thank you to my family, friends and all my supporters.
Rishi Sunak has been pressured to investigate the allegations, which Downing Street described as “very serious”.
Asked today if the Prime Minister thinks his Tory counterpart is a suitable candidate, his press secretary said: “As you know there are three candidates and the Prime Minister does not support a single candidate.”
“Obviously, these allegations are very serious. These are allegations that Daniel Korski himself has obviously denied. They should be handled properly.’
When asked if the prime minister would encourage anyone with complaints against former employees to come forward, his press secretary replied: “Yes, of course.”
Ms Goodwin previously spoke about the alleged incident at a Downing Street meeting, but chose to credit Mr Korski by name in a first-person article in The Times.
She wrote: “As we both got up at the end of the meeting and walked to the door, the spade fell [special adviser] approached me and suddenly put his hand on my chest.
“Amazed, I said loudly, ‘Are you really touching my chest?’ The spade jumped away from me and I left. While I suppose his act could legally be described as sexual assault, I have to say I wasn’t scared.
“I was older, taller and possibly smarter than the Spad, and having worked for the BBC in the ’80s knew how to handle gropers.” “What I felt was surprise and a certain humiliation.”
The businessman was at a meeting with fellow Conservatives Susan Hall and Moz Hossain on Monday night when the article was published.
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