Boris Johnson accused of ignoring warnings about Chris Pincher amid new allegations | Conservatives

Boris Johnson is facing charges of ignoring warnings of alleged sexual misconduct from his former Deputy Chief Whip Chris Pincher, after a series of other allegations about the MP emerged.

The Prime Minister is under pressure to explain what he knew of Pincher’s conduct, amid claims by former No10 aide Dominic Cummings that Johnson called him ‘Pincher by name, pincher by nature’.

Pincher resigned as deputy chief whip on Thursday after allegations he groped two men while intoxicated at a club in Piccadilly. He had the whip removed after a report to parliament’s independent complaints system.

Another set of six allegations about Pincher’s sexual conduct emerged in the Sunday papers, including allegations of groping deputies. There was also a report that a Tory MP, Craig Whittaker, resigned from the whips office when Pincher was promoted in February. Pincher denied the allegations.

A No 10 source acknowledged that Johnson was ‘probably’ aware of the general allegations about Pincher and the nickname ‘Pincher by name etc’, but argued he was unable to examine “unsubstantiated rumours” before appointing him deputy chief whip in February.

Speaking to broadcasters, Therese Coffey, the Work and Pensions Secretary, insisted Johnson was ‘not aware of any specific allegations’ about Pincher, but could not deny he had been made aware of more general concerns.

Chris Pincher should lose Tory whip, says MP who watched porn at Commons – video

She told Sky’s Sophy Ridge program on Sunday: ‘I am aware the Prime Minister was unaware of the specific claims that had been made.

However, Coffey acknowledged that she had not spoken to the prime minister himself. She said the No. 10 press office told her that Johnson was not aware of any specific claims.

In a statement over the weekend, Pincher said he respected the Prime Minister’s decision to withdraw the whip. “As I told the Prime Minister, I drank way too much on Wednesday night, which embarrassed me and others, and I’m so sorry for the upset I caused,” he said. he declares.

“The stress of the last few days, added to that of the last few months, made me agree to benefit from professional medical support. I am looking for that now, and hope to be able to return to my constituency duties as soon as possible.

Coffey pointed out that Pincher was cleared by a previous investigation after Alex Story, a former professional rower and Conservative candidate, accused him of making unwanted passes and acting like a “Harvey Weinstein poundshop”. .

Jonathan Reynolds, the shadow business secretary, called Coffey’s responses “desperate”. He said: ‘I think we have to recognize what the constant problem is and it is a Tory party that repeatedly chooses to do what is politically expedient rather than what is right. It is clear from what we know this morning that Chris Pincher should never have been reinstated in the office of whips.

Labor MP Jess Phillips pointed to the onus on victims to go through a formal complaints system and the lack of independence in party investigations.

“The whole system that relies on the victims doing all the work to force the people with all the power to do the right thing is a problem. It provides cover for politicians who are familiar with the behavior of their colleagues to sit back and do nothing,” she said.

“Pincher has already been cleared by a totally non-independent investigation by the Conservative Party. Same system that said Rob Roberts did nothing wrong too. The same system that returned the whip to Charlie Elphicke and Andrew Griffiths.

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Edward L. Robinett