Saturday 2 July 2022 10:54 PM Boris knew Tory MP faced lurid allegations TWO YEARS before appointing him to ... trends now
Boris Johnson knew of lurid allegations about disgraced MP Chris Pincher two years before appointing him to a senior Government job, it was claimed last night.
When Mr Pincher quit as deputy chief whip on Thursday following reports he drunkenly groped two men in a private members’ club, No 10 said the Prime Minister had not been aware of any allegations before giving him the role.
However, The Mail on Sunday has been told that in 2020, Mr Johnson told aides: ‘He’s handsy, that’s a problem. Pincher by name, pincher by nature.’
It is also understood that two months ago the Prime Minister was told of claims Mr Pincher had made unwanted advances towards a fellow Tory MP. It is alleged that when he was rebuffed, Mr Pincher contacted the politician’s wife with unfounded sexual allegations about the MP as an act of revenge.
Mr Pincher – who has denied these claims but admitted he had ‘drunk far too much’ and ‘embarrassed myself’ at the Carlton Club last week – said yesterday that he would be seeking ‘professional medical support’ following his conduct.
Boris Johnson knew of lurid allegations about disgraced MP Chris Pincher two years before appointing him to a senior Government job, it was claimed last night
Fears are growing in No 10 that the growing scandal could lead to a by-election in Mr Pincher’s Tamworth constituency. Although Downing Street tried to draw a line under the affair by suspending him from the party, many Tory MPs are applying intense pressure for him to be stripped of his seat.
In other developments engulfing Downing Street last night:One of the men who claims to have been groped by Mr Pincher at the Carlton Club on Wednesday accused Mr Johnson of being too slow to suspend the MP, which left him ‘furious’ and ‘shell-shocked’; A source claimed that Mr Johnson had said in 2019, when he was running for leader, that he had the ‘support of all the sex pests’ in the party; A Tory staffer told how Mr Pincher threatened to report her to her boss when she tried to prevent his ‘lecherous’ advances towards a young man at a Tory party conference; A new complainant told The Mail on Sunday he had been subjected to unwanted advances from Mr Pincher a decade ago, when he was 24; MPs circulated claims that a senior Downing Street aide woke to find Mr Pincher in bed with him at a party ‘awayday’ 12 years ago – although the claims are denied by the aide and Mr Pincher, who also denies the other new allegations against him; Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle took advice about barring Mr Pincher from the Commons if the police are asked to look into any of the allegations, although the MP has agreed to stay away while the claims are investigated; Westminster researchers said that when they had complained about the ‘sexual harassment culture’ in Parliament earlier this year, they were told that Mr Pincher was the person to complain to.
When Mr Pincher quit as deputy chief whip on Thursday following reports he drunkenly groped two men in a private members’ club, No 10 said the Prime Minister had not been aware of any allegations before giving him the role
Claims that Mr Johnson previously knew Mr Pincher had a reputation for inappropriate behaviour stem from 2020, when the MP was being considered for the role of chief whip in a reshuffle.
A member of the Prime Minister’s inner circle told The Mail on Sunday ‘I was in the reshuffle meeting in No 10 when we were discussing making Pincher chief whip. Boris said to us, “He’s handsy, that’s a problem. Pincher by name, pincher by nature.” ’
Yet when 52-year-old Mr Pincher quit last week, a No 10 spokesman told reporters that he was ‘not aware of the Prime Minister being aware [of allegations] before any appointment.’
Mr Johnson made Mr Pincher deputy chief whip in February this year, moving him from his role as Housing Minister.
It was a return to a position he had previously quit in 2017 after The Mail on Sunday revealed that a former Olympic rower had accused him of an unwanted sexual pass. But an internal party inquiry subsequently concluded he had not breached the code of conduct.
However, The Mail on Sunday has been told that in 2020, Mr Johnson told aides: ‘He’s handsy, that’s a problem. Pincher by name, pincher by nature’
On Friday, Downing Street defended the decision to return him to the role, saying it was ‘not appropriate to stop an appointment on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations’ at the time.
In his resignation letter, Mr Pincher admitted that he had ‘drunk far too much’ and ‘embarrassed myself and other people’ at the Carlton Club on Wednesday night.
Last night, fresh accounts emerged of his conduct, with one of the two alleged victims coming forward to claim Mr Pincher groped his left buttock before moving his hand around to his groin. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the man told The Sunday Times: ‘I had my drink in my hand and then he then went down and grabbed my a*** and then slowly... moved his hand down the front of my groin. I froze a little bit and it ended after about two or three seconds.’
The man, said to be in his mid-twenties, criticised Sarah Dines, another whip whom he said witnessed the incident, for asking if he was gay,
He said: ‘I was a bit taken aback by that and said, “What’s that got to do with it – but yes, I am.” And her words were, “Well, that doesn’t make it straightforward.” She saw everything, which is why I am so angry’.
Friends of Dines told the Sunday Times she was attempting to establish exactly what had happened and that she later reported the incident to her superiors, proving she took the matter seriously.
Other witnesses said Mr Pincher appeared ‘extremely drunk’. He was told to leave, but refused, until Mark Fletcher, the Tory MP for Bolsover, physically removed him from the building.
Conservative MPs have told this newspaper that Mr Pincher being inebriated at the club was a ‘familiar sight’
On May 10, he was offered water by fellow drinkers who were concerned about his slurring: one said that he had boasted that evening about loving ‘the power’ of his job.
It is also understood that two months ago the Prime Minister was told of claims Mr Pincher had made unwanted advances towards a fellow Tory MP
Downing Street had suggested the Prime Minister considered the matter closed after Mr Pincher’s resignation as deputy chief whip on Thursday. The decision to suspend him as a Tory MP was only taken the following day after a formal complaint was lodged with the Commons conduct watchdog.
Last night Mr Pincher said he ‘respected’ the Prime Minister’s decision to suspend the whip and has pledged to ‘co-operate fully’ with an inquiry into his behaviour.
He added in a statement: ‘As I told the Prime Minister, I drank far too much on Wednesday night, embarrassing myself and others and I am truly sorry for the upset I caused.
‘The stresses of the last few days, coming on top of those over the last several months, have made me accept that I will benefit from professional medical support.
‘I am in the process of seeking that now, and I hope to be able to return to my constituency duties as soon as possible.’
A spokesman for Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said: ‘While we do not comment on specific cases, the Speaker has been assured that the member in question will not attend the Parliamentary estate for the foreseeable future.’
'Pincher by name, pincher by nature': How Boris Johnson allegedly described disgraced Tory MP before going on to make him Deputy Chief Whip
By Glen Owen Political Editor
When Chris Pincher wrote in his resignation letter to Boris Johnson that he had ‘drunk far too much’ and ‘embarrassed myself’ at the Carlton Club on Wednesday evening, it made it sound as if it was one-off aberration.
But members of the Tory MPs’ club in London’s St James’s had become used to seeing Mr Pincher in a state of late-evening disrepair: on another night at the club in May, a fellow drinker told The Mail on Sunday that Mr Pincher was ‘all over the place’ and they begged him to drink water in an effort to sober him up.
‘He slurred about how much how he loved the power of being Deputy Chief Whip,’ the witness said. ‘There were a lot of other MPs there looking very embarrassed about it.’
Few of his colleagues were surprised by Mr Pincher’s announcement yesterday that he was seeking ‘professional medical support’ in the wake of his disgrace, having grown used to trading stories about the MP which were striking in their similarities.
When Chris Pincher wrote in his resignation letter to Boris Johnson that he had ‘drunk far too much’ and ‘embarrassed myself’ at the Carlton