Chris Pincher: PM Made Ally A Whip After 'Balancing His Skills Against Harassment Claims'

Number 10 has now admitted the prime minister was aware of sex pest claims before making loyalist deputy chief whip.
Chris Pincher (right) leaving Number 10 with chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris before his resignation from government.
Chris Pincher (right) leaving Number 10 with chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris before his resignation from government.
Rob Pinney via Getty Images

Boris Johnson appointed Chris Pincher deputy chief whip after “balancing his skills” against allegations of sexual harassment, Downing Street has claimed.

Number 10 finally admitted today that the prime minister was aware of allegations against the Tamworth MP before giving him the job in February.

The MP resigned from the post on Thursday after he was accused of drunkenly groping two men at a private members’ club in London the night before.

Johnson initially stood by his close ally, but Pincher finally lost the Conservative whip late on Friday afternoon.

Quizzed on the ongoing scandal, the PM’s official spokesman said factors other than the allegations Pincher faced had to be taken into consideration.

He said: “The prime minister will always seek to appoint the most appropriate people to the role.

“Clearly he must balance someone’s skills and experience against things like allegations in some instances and unsubstantiated rumours.

“Clearly we wouldn’t want or expect to see anyone working in government behave in the manners alleged. Any sexual harassment is well below what we would expect to see.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer said the appointment of Pincher was another example of poor judgment by Boris Johnson.

“I have got no sympathy with a Prime Minister who repeatedly makes bad judgment calls,” he told Sky News.

“We have been living with a version of this story for month after month after month. Bad judgment by a man who puts himself above everything. I don’t have any sympathy for him.”

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