Chris Pincher's conduct in 2019 didn't require 'formal disciplinary action', Raab says
News pages have been crammed with stories about Tory MP Chris Pincher for the past week, after he resigned as deputy chief whip over allegations he groped two men at a Conservative private members' club.
Since the story broke, rumours have circulated - ones that Pincher has denied - that he has made unwanted sexual advances to other men throughout his career, and it has been alleged that Boris Johnson new about these allegations but promoted him anyway.
Dominic Cummings - never one to shy away from scandal - even said the PM referred to him as "Pincher by name, pincher by nature" in 2020.
Yes, the potential sexual misconduct of another Tory MP is the dominant conversation in Westminster.
A man alleged he was subjected to an unwanted advance from Pincher when he was in his early 20s at an event in London, according to The Mail on Sunday.
A former parliamentary researcher alleged Pincher threatened to report her to her boss after she tried to stop him pestering a young man at that year’s Conservative Party conference, according to the same publication.
In the same year, a man passed out at the MP's flat after an evening of drinking and allegedly woke up to find the MP “on top of him”, a friend reportedly told The Sun.
Chris Pincher resigned from the whips’ office and referred himself to the police after former professional rower and Tory activist Alex Story accused him of making unwanted passes. This included untucking the back of his shirt and massaging his neck while telling him he would go far in the party and acting like a “poundshop Harvey Weinstein” towards him in 2001 before he was an MP. He denied the allegations and a party investigation later cleared Pincher of wrongdoing.
A few weeks later, he was alleged to have put his hand firmly on the inside leg of an MP, according to the Sunday Times who say he denied acting inappropriately.
A formal complaint wasn't made and when asked about this claim by the Mirror, a spokesperson for the Chief Whip reportedly said: “The Chief Whip can not act on speculation.
“In circumstances where there is no formal complaint, it would be inappropriate to assume guilt without a proper and fair investigation by the relevant authorities.”
In 2018, Theresa May appointed Pincher as deputy chief whip. Later that year, he is accused of acting inappropriately with a charity fundraiser in his constituency office, according to the Sun.
That year a young Conservative MP is said to have received an unwanted physical advance by the MP in his parliamentary office, according to The Sunday Times who say Pincher denies the allegations.
During the Tory party conference in 2019, Pincher allegedly made a pass at an activist. He told the Times Pincher suggested a “nightcap” at his hotel bar at 2am and followed him to Burger King.
Around this time, he is also alleged to have made an unwanted advance towards a young Tory activist after inviting him for drinks in his Tamworth constituency, according to The Sunday Times.
Pincher allegedly made a pass at a young Tory activist during the Tory party conference in Manchester, according to The Times. Pincher's lawyers told The Times he firmly denies the allegation.
The Mail on Sunday reported that a young Conservative activist is “touched up” by Mr Pincher in a car.
A Conservative MP claims he was groped repeatedly by Pincher near the Carlton Club in December, as well as in June this year within the parliamentary estate, according to The Independent.
In February 2022 Pincher was appointed deputy chief whip and concerns about his reputation were flagged to the Cabinet Office’s propriety and ethics team, holding up his confirmation for four hours.
June 30 2022
Pincher resigned and released a letter saying he had got drunk and embarrassed himself following allegations he assaulted two guests at the Carlton Club the evening prior. Johnson declined to suspend him from the party saying the matter was closed but the next day he suspended the whip while an investigation into the allegations is ongoing.
\u201cNEW: Pincher resignation letter: \u201cLast night I drank far too much. I\u2019ve embarrassed myself and other people which is the last thing I want to do\u201d Pincher apologises and resigns as deputy chief whip >> Clearly wants to draw a line under matter. Questions over whether he can\u201d
And so began the back and forth about how much Johnson knew about the Pincher allegations.
On 1 July, No 10’s deputy official spokesperson insisted that the prime minister was not aware of any allegations against Pincher at the time of promoting him to deputy chief whip but he later corrected himself to say Johnson was not aware of any “specific” allegations against Pincher.
Then on 4 July, No 10 acknowledged that Johnson had personally been aware of allegations against Pincher at the time of his promotion after the BBC and Independent reported Johnson was aware of a specific complaint about Pincher while he was a foreign office minister from 2019 to 2020.
But No 10 said that at the time these allegations were “either resolved or did not proceed to a formal complaint”.
No 10 also declined to comment on a claim by former No 10 aide Dominic Cummings that Johnson had referred to his ally as “Pincher by name, pincher by nature”.
Following the latest line from No 10, crossbench peer and former top civil servant Simon McDonald wrote a letter to the Standards Commissioner accusing No 10 of not telling the truth.
\u201cThis morning I have written to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards - because No 10 keep changing their story and are still not telling the truth.\u201d