- Kathryn Snowdon & Paul Seddon
- BBC News
New allegations against UK Conservative MP accused of groping men
Six new allegations of inappropriate behavior against British lawmaker Chris Pincher have surfaced days after he was suspended from the Conservative Party amid allegations he groped two men.
The allegations date back more than a decade.
Pincher says he is seeking professional medical support and has no intention of resigning as a lawmaker.
He did not respond to the BBC’s request for an interview, but denied the allegations to the British press.
Allegations reported by the Independent, Mail on Sunday and Sunday Times newspapers include three cases in which Pincher is alleged to have made unwanted advances to male MPs, including in a bar in Parliament and in his own parliamentary office.
No official complaints were made against him.
According to British media, one of the MPs contacted the prime minister’s office in February with details of what he said had happened to him and expressed his concerns that Pincher would become a Conservative whip.
The whip is the parliamentarian in charge of making colleagues follow party guidelines, that is, vote with the party.
The prime minister’s office said Prime Minister Boris Johnson was not aware of any specific allegations when he named Pincher as deputy whip in February.
Labor and Pensions Minister Therese Coffey told the BBC’s Sunday Morning program she was “informed this morning” that the prime minister “did not know about specific allegations” before making the appointment.
She added that she had not personally spoken to the prime minister, but someone from Johnson’s press office confirmed to her that he was unaware of the allegations against Pincher.
Speaking to Sky News earlier, Coffey said the appointment “went through a vetting process as normal.”
However, the prime minister’s office did not deny a claim by former Johnson aide Dominic Cummings that the prime minister referred to Pincher as “Pincher by name, pincher by nature” before naming him.
In English, the verb “pinch” means “pinch”. It is therefore believed that Cummings was ironically alluding to Pincher’s alleged reputation for making unwanted advances against men.
Pincher, 52, resigned as whip on Thursday after allegedly groping two men at the Carlton Club, the club for Conservative Party members in London, the night before.
Shortly after the announcement, the prime minister’s office initially indicated that Johnson considered the matter closed.
But Pincher was suspended from the Conservative Party on Friday (7/1) and will now continue as an independent (non-party) MP.
He said he “drank too much” on Wednesday night, “embarrassing myself and others, and I’m sorry for the inconvenience I caused.”
“The strains of the past few days, added to those of the past few months, have made me accept that I will benefit from professional medical support,” Pincher said in a statement.
“I am in the process of pursuing this now, and I hope to be able to return to my electoral duties as soon as possible.”
Minister Coffey said Johnson had taken “decisive steps” to suspend Pincher on Friday.
However, Jonathan Reynolds of the Labor Party, which opposes Boris Johnson’s government, told British broadcaster Sky that the Conservatives were motivated by “what is politically expedient about what is right”.
Complaints against parliamentarians are examined by independent investigators, who can make recommendations on further measures. If they decide to suspend or expel the parliamentarian, this would need to be voted on by the other colleagues.
It’s not the first time Pincher has been involved in sexual harassment allegations. He previously lost his whip in 2017 when he was accused of making an unwelcome move on former Olympic rower and conservation activist Alex Story.
But after a party investigation, Pincher was cleared of any breach of the code of conduct.
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