Labour have accused Boris Johnson of sweeping sexual misconduct claims going through one in all his closest allies “underneath the carpet with a view to save his personal pores and skin”.
The prime minister is under increasing pressure to elucidate what he knew concerning the allegations towards Chris Pincher earlier than appointing him deputy chief whip.
It got here after The Sun reported the Tamworth MP allegedly drunkenly “groped” two males following a reception for the Conservative Buddies of Cyprus.
After the PM intitially refused to strip Pincher of the Tory whip, it was introduced on Friday night that he had been suspended by the celebration.
Earlier, a Quantity 10 spokesman had insisted Johnson had not been conscious of any “particular allegations” towards Pincher earlier than making him deputy chief whip in February.
“There was no foundation to cease the appointment within the absence of any formal grievance,” he mentioned.
The spokesperson mentioned Pincher – who resigned from the whips workplace in 2017 over claims of sexual misconduct – couldn’t be blocked from being given a job on the idea of “unsubstantiated allegations”.
Nonetheless, Sunday newspaper experiences claimed the prime minister had been conscious of considerations about Pincher, and had as soon as mentioned: “Pincher by title, Pincher by nature.”
Labour chair Anneliese Dodds has now written to Johnson demanding he clarify what he knew about Pincher earlier than making him deputy chief whip, a key position in imposing Tory celebration self-discipline.
In her letter, she says: “Have been you or senior members of your advisory staff, together with your chief of employees, made conscious of allegations of inappropriate behaviour by Mr Pincher previous to his appointment within the whips workplace?”
Dodds mentioned: ”Solely Boris Johnson might have checked out this guy’s report and thought “he deserves a promotion”.
“Not solely that, however by not investigating these allegations and permitting the previous deputy chief whip to maintain the Conservative whip, the prime minister is sending a harmful sign.
“This prime minister is clearly completely satisfied to comb sexual misconduct underneath the carpet with a view to save his personal pores and skin. Conservative MPs have to take a protracted laborious look within the mirror and resolve if that is the form of chief the British individuals deserve.”
A Quantity 10 supply mentioned: “Propriety and ethics didn’t elevate any objection to appointing [Pincher].”
This can be a reference to the background checks carried out previous to Pincher formally turning into deputy chief whip.
Nonetheless, the supply failed to reply when requested to touch upon the claims that the PM was conscious of allegations concerning the MP’s behaviour earlier than his appointment.