Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been accused of lying over his knowledge about previous allegations of harassment aimed at Chris Pincher. The Government Deputy Chief Whip resigned this week after being seen groping two men in a private members’ club in Central London. Following the incident, Pincher said that he had “drunk far too much”.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, one of the men who claims to have been groped by Pincher says he was not “slurring” his words.
Since the incident, Pincher’s previous groping accusations have resurfaced.
Simon McDonald, formerly the most senior official in the Foreign Office and now a crossbench peer, has said that Mr Johnson was previously informed about Pincher’s exploits in 2019.
This ran in contrast to the Prime Minister’s claim that he was not aware of prior allegations against Pincher.
Mr McDonald told the BBC that Mr Johnson needed to “come clean”.
In a scathing letter, he wrote that in the summer of 2019, shortly after Pincher became a Foreign Office minister, a group of officials complained about his behaviour.
He said the claims were “similar” to those that emerged last week.
Mr McDonald said it was “not true” for No 10 to claim that Mr Johnson did not know about earlier complaints, or the later amended line from Downing Street that he knew of the complaint but that it was unsubstantiated.
He wrote: “Mr Johnson was briefed in person about the initiation and outcome of the investigation.
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“There was a ‘formal complaint’. Allegations were ‘resolved’ only in the sense that the investigation was completed; Mr Pincher was not exonerated. To characterise the allegations as ‘unsubstantiated’ is therefore wrong.
“I am aware that is unusual to write to you and simultaneously publicise the letter. I am conscious of the duty owed to the target of an investigation but I act out of of my duty towards the victims.
“Mr Pincher deceived me and others in 2019. He cannot be allowed to use the confidentiality of the process three years ago to pursue his predatory behaviour in other contexts.”
It is just one in a series of controversies to hit the Tory party and Mr Johnson’s Government, the public already deeply unhappy with the Prime Minister’s flouting of his own COVID-19 rules.
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