Chris Pincher was the man Boris Johnson had tasked with investigating the sex allegations and maintaining discipline in his ruling Conservative Party. Now, Pincher has reportedly been accused in more than a dozen new reports of alleged inappropriate fondling, fondling and advances. The horrific cavalcade of allegations against Pincher mounted pressure on Johnson’s administration, which already had an accountability problem.
The latest round of revelations about Pincher, which he denies, began last week. A report in The sun said Pincher got drunk at a private club in London and groped two men. It would be inexcusable for a legislator at any time in his career, but – if proven – it would be made all the more shocking by Pincher’s role in government; he was Deputy Chief Whip, a job that, among other things, involves maintaining discipline within his party and investigating allegations of sexual misconduct against its politicians. “Last night I drank way too much,” Pincher wrote in a letter to Boris Johnson stepping down from his role. “I’ve embarrassed myself and other people which is the last thing I want to do and for that I apologize to you and everyone involved.”
Most of the allegations are anonymous and there have been no known reports of police investigations into these allegations.
It was infuriating but perhaps not entirely surprising that Boris Johnson – a man with a few sex scandals himself – initially allowed Pincher to continue serving as a Tory lawmaker. It was only 24 hours after the groping scandal became public that Johnson suspended Pincher from the party on Friday afternoon, when a parliamentary inquiry into his behavior was also announced. But if that was meant to end the case, an explosion of new allegations over the weekend has reopened everything.
Over the past few days, at least 13 new allegations of sexual misconduct and other abuse of power against Pincher over a ten-year period have been reported in the UK media. The first allegedly took place in 2013, when a parliamentary researcher said Pincher threatened to report her to her boss after she tried to stop Pincher from harassing a young man at the Conservative Party convention. In the same year, another man says they woke up to find Pincher above them in his London flat after a night out. One charity worker even said The sun that he was groped by Pincher in a photo of them taken in 2018. Another report on Monday from someone who says he was groped by Pincher in 2021 is now planning to go to the police with his allegation. And an alleged male victim said he was groped by Pincher twice, the most recent being in June this year. Pincher has denied all allegations and said he is seeking professional medical help.
The stories of wrongdoing go back even further than the reports that emerged over the weekend. In 2001, Pincher was allegedly inappropriate towards Olympic rower and conservative activist Alex Story. In a public account of the 2017 incident, the athlete compared Pincher to Harvey Weinstein when describing the incident, in which Story said Pincher wore a bathrobe, massaged his neck and whispered to him. ear: “You will go far in the Conservative Party. To party.”
The blizzard of chilling accusations has also raised questions about how Boris Johnson allowed someone with a reputation like Pincher to play a key role in government. “The Prime Minister was not aware of any specific allegations prior to the appointment, and there was no reason to stop the appointment,” a Johnson spokesperson said. Policy Last week. But two unnamed Conservative lawmakers said The Guardian they had raised concerns with the Whips Office about Pincher in February of this year. And former Johnson adviser Dominic Cummings tweeted Saturday that Johnson “would repeatedly laughingly call him in #10 as ‘Pincher by name, pincher by nature’ long before he named him.”
Sadly, this is just the latest scandal to rock Johnson’s party. The Prime Minister himself was the subject of salacious stories recently after truly chilling details emerged of a politician stepping on Johnson and his then mistress, now wife, Carrie, in a ‘compromising situation’ in his office while serving as Foreign Secretary in 2018. And Johnson’s party recently suffered a landslide defeat in the double election, in part because one of its lawmakers, Neil Parish, was caught trying of watching porn in the House of Commons (Parish claimed he was looking for tractors when he came across the x-rated video). And of course the sex allegations came as the UK is still reeling from the party scandal, in which Johnson and his staff were found to have broken their own pandemic lockdown rules to attend fueled parties in alcohol in Downing Street.