Saturday 2 July 2022 10:54 PM More complaints made about Tory MP as alleged victim claims behaviour left him ... trends now
Disgraced MP Chris Pincher was last night at the centre of explosive new claims about his behaviour, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
In disturbing testimonies, two further people have come forward to tell how the former Deputy Chief Whip’s ‘lecherous’ advances left them feeling disgusted and uncomfortable.
One alleged victim said he received unwanted sexual attention from Mr Pincher ten years ago when he was in his early 20s at an event in London.
Meanwhile a former parliamentary researcher has revealed the MP threatened to report her to her boss when she tried to block his pestering of a young man at Conservative Party conference in 2013.
Last night, his alleged victim who has chosen to remain anonymous, said he was appalled that Mr Pincher had been able to continue targeting young men.
Disgraced MP Chris Pincher was last night at the centre of explosive new claims about his behaviour, The Mail on Sunday can reveal
He said: ‘I am shocked that he has been able to get away with it for so long. He’s obviously got a drinking problem, he drinks and then does these things.’
In another blow to Mr Pincher, the former parliamentary researcher described how she was sitting with the MP and a young man in his early 20s at a post-conference event when the MP started making ‘lingering verbal and visual advances’ towards him.
Speaking exclusively to The Mail on Sunday last night, she said: ‘Chris kept making visual and verbal suggestions and I could tell the guy was getting a bit uncomfortable, so he and I started chatting a lot more.
‘He was both eyeing him up and making comments about how the guy looked. We were chatting almost in a weird way to make it clear that the guy wasn’t in that space, and Chris just seemed to get jealous and angry.
‘I made some kind of jokey remark towards Chris, not about the situation because I wouldn’t dare – he was an MP – but it was really funny, really light hearted and he turned around and snapped and said, “Who is your boss?”.’
For the former researcher, who now works in a different sector, Mr Pincher’s behaviour was an example of a flagrant ‘abuse of power’. She said: ‘That phrase kept going through my mind, it was an abuse of power. I just kept thinking how nasty he was when he felt that I was in anyway some kind of competition. It was weird.’
In disturbing testimonies, two further people have come forward to tell how the former Deputy Chief Whip’s ‘lecherous’ advances left them feeling disgusted and uncomfortable
She added: ‘The irony of someone who is a whip having control over people’s secrets when in fact he was in that position himself, I remember thinking how ironic that was. There was just no way people didn’t know about it. Everyone knew about it.’
Yesterday, a young Conservative activist told how the former Deputy Chief Whip put his hand on his knee and told him he would ‘go far in the party’ at an event held during the Conservative Party conference in October. He said: ‘It is shocking he was anywhere near the whips’ office.’
Allegations about Pincher’s conduct go as far back as 2001, when he is alleged to have acted inappropriately with Olympic rower and Tory activist Alex Story.
The fresh claims are likely to widen the scope of an official parliamentary probe launched on Friday.
'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 Club on Wednesday evening, it made it sound as if it was one-off aberration
The Mail on Sunday was the first newspaper to publish a story about Mr Pincher’s behaviour, revealing five years ago how Alex Story, a former Olympic rower turned Conservative activist, had been the subject of unwelcome attention from Mr Pincher, later describing him as a ‘pound-shop Harvey Weinstein’.
Mr Pincher, 52, quit the Whips Office after the story appeared, but returned within two months following an internal party inquiry which concluded that ‘there has not been a breach of the code of conduct’. Mr Pincher has been accused of impropriety with a current No 10 aide – denied by both men – and of ‘touching up’ former Labour MP Tom Blenkinsop, who is said to have told him to ‘f*** off’.
Mr Pincher was also said to have made unwanted advances to a Tory MP – and when he was rebuffed was accused of being linked to a phone call subsequently made to the MP’s wife containing unfounded allegations of a sexual nature about the MP. Mr Pincher has denied these claims.
It was against this backdrop that Mr Pincher’s name was raised in Downing Street in January 2020 as a possible replacement for Mark Spencer as Chief Whip in the reshuffle which took place the following month.
The discussion – a senior member of Mr Johnson’s inner circle claims that the Prime Minister said of Mr Pincher: ‘He’s handsy, that’s a problem. Pincher by name, pincher by nature’ – could be seen in the light of Wednesday’s events as inappropriately dismissive; one of the main complaints of young staff working in Parliament is that offensive or even illegal behaviour by MPs is often treated as just ‘jolly gossip’.
A separate source claimed that Mr Johnson had also noted to aides that he had the ‘support of all the sex pests’ in the Tory Party as backers for his successful 2019 leadership bid, including Charlie Elphicke, who was sentenced to two years in prison for sexual assault in July 2020; Ross Thomson, who was cleared in October 2020 of allegations of groping young men, and Mr Pincher. ‘He was basically joking that he had cornered the market in sex pests,’ said the source.
Given his reputation, Mr Pincher’s appointment as deputy to Chief Whip Chris Heaton-Harris raised eyebrows across Westminster. It was nearly even more surprising: a four-hour delay in his appointment being announced can now be explained as a successful blocking operation by Steve Barclay, the PM’s chief of staff, to stop Mr Johnson from appointing Mr Pincher as the Chief Whip.
Mr Barclay is reported to have contacted the propriety and ethics team in the Cabinet Office to ask for their advice on the idea after he was contacted by an MP who questioned Mr Pincher’s suitability for the position. The presumption within the party is that Mr Johnson wanted to reward his loyalty, and in particular for the unofficial whipping operation which Mr Pincher ran to drum up support for him during the Partygate rows.
Mr Barclay will have felt quietly vindicated when he read the accounts of Wednesday evening, with one witness saying that Mr Pincher was seen ‘staggering around the bar… lurching towards young men and propositioning them’, before being ‘frog-marched’ out of the club by two Tory MPs and put in a taxi.
One observer said: ‘The guy was so drunk, he could barely speak and was unable to tell the driver where he lived. We had to look it up for him. It was embarrassing to watch and completely out of order.’
Mr Johnson agreed to withdraw the whip following a conversation with an MP who had been with one of Mr Pincher’s alleged victims, which ‘was sufficiently disturbing to make the PM feel more troubled by all this’, a source said.
Last night, one of the two men allegedly assaulted in the Carlton Club told the Sunday Times: ‘I had my drink in my hand and then he went down and grabbed my a*** and then slowly… moved his hand down the front of my groin,’ he claimed.
‘I froze a little bit and it ended after about two or three seconds.’
The question being asked across the