Tory Deputy Chief Whip Quits For Second Time Amid 'Groping' Allegation

"Last night I drank far too much," says Christopher Pincher in resignation letter to Boris Johnson.
Christopher Pincher
Christopher Pincher
Aaron Chown via PA Wire/PA Images

Government deputy chief whip Chris Pincher has quit following allegations of assault.

In a resignation letter to Boris Johnson, the MP said that he had “embarrassed myself and others” after having “drank far too much”.

It came after The Sun reported he allegedly drunkenly “groped” two men on Wednesday night.

It’s the second time he has stepped down from the whip’s office, which enforces party discipline, after a 2017 resignation following accusations he made an unwanted sexual advance at former Olympic rower and Tory activist Alex Story. He was cleared of wrongdoing by a Tory probe.

Pincher wrote in the letter: “Last night I drank far too much.

“I’ve embarrassed myself and other people which is the last thing I want to do and for that I apologise to you and to those concerned. I think the right thing to do in the circumstances is for me to resign as deputy chief whip. I owe it to you and the people I’ve caused upset to, to do this.

“I want to assure you that you will continue to have my full support from the back benches, and I wish you all the best as you deal with aftershocks of covid and the challenges of international inflation.

“It has been the honour of my life to have served in Her Majesty’s government.”

The Sun reported that he stood down after assaulting two fellow guests at the Carlton Club on Wednesday evening.

It also suggested that Pincher would not lose the Conservative whip because he had admitted wrongdoing and resigned.

Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, called for Pincher to be stripped of the whip, which would mean he was no longer an MP representing the Tories.

She said: “This latest episode shows how far standards in public life have been degraded on Boris Johnson’s watch. Boris Johnson has serious questions to answer about why Chris Pincher was given this role in the first place and how he can remain a Conservative MP.

“There cannot be any question of the Conservatives sweeping a potential sexual assault under the carpet.

“The Conservative party is so mired in sleaze and scandal that it is totally unable to tackle the challenges facing the British people.

“The Conservative MPs who continue to prop up this prime minister’s paralysed administration need to grow a backbone and tell him the party’s over.”

His departure comes just days after Oliver Dowden quit as party co-chairman in the wake of the Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton by-election losses.

It leaves Johnson, who returned from the Nato summit on Thursday after nine days out of the country, with another headache with two crucial roles to fill.

Pincher was appointed alongside chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris last February to strengthen party discipline amid unrest among MPs over the way the government was being run.

He resigned as a junior whip in November 2017 following the last complaint.

Having referred himself to both the police and the Conservative Party complaints procedure, he was brought back by Theresa May as deputy chief whip in January 2018.


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