Tory MP Chris Pincher seeking 'professional medical support' after 'groping' allegations

2 July 2022, 15:39 | Updated: 2 July 2022, 16:33

Chris Pincher says he is seeking medical support after getting "far too drunk" at the Carlton Club in London
Chris Pincher says he is seeking medical support after getting "far too drunk" at the Carlton Club in London. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

Chris Pincher, who lost the Conservative whip after being accused of groping two men, said he is seeking "professional medical support" as he hopes to return to his duties as an MP "as soon as possible".

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The MP resigned from his post as deputy chief whip on Thursday evening, after an incident on Wednesday night during which he admitted 'embarrassing himself and others' and drinking "far too much".

He then had the Conservative whip withdrawn on Friday after an investigation was launched into the groping allegations, effectively suspending him from the party.

Read more: PM faces backlash for delay suspending MP over 'disturbing groping' allegations

Read more: Tory whip quits post saying he 'drank too much' amid 'groping' allegations

Now sitting as an independent, Mr Pincher is battling to remain in the House of Commons despite opponents saying his position is untenable.

In a statement issued on Saturday, the Tamworth MP said he "respected" the Prime Minister's decision to suspend the whip, adding he would "cooperate fully" with an inquiry into his behaviour.

'First I wonder whatever next, and then I wonder whoever next!'

"I respect the Prime Minister's decision to suspend the whip whilst an inquiry is underway, and I will cooperate fully with it," he said.

"As I told the Prime Minister, I drank far too much on Wednesday night, embarrassing myself and others and I am truly sorry for the upset I caused.

Read more: James O'Brien reacts as MP's career hangs in balance amid groping claims

Read more: 'Double standards!': Neil Parish slams govt for not withdrawing whip from Chris Pincher

"The stresses of the last few days, coming on top of those over the last several months, have made me accept that I will benefit from professional medical support.

"I am in the process of seeking that now, and I hope to be able to return to my constituency duties as soon as possible."

Mafia-like loyalty, hierarchies, and a culture of silence: Ben Kentish on Parliament's scandals

Critics in Westminster are unlikely to be calmed by the statement.

Neil Parish, the former Conservative MP pressured to resign from the Commons after watching porn in Parliament, has accused No 10 of "double standards".

Speaking to LBC on Friday, before the government withdrew the whip, he said it had been "the first thing they did to me".

"I just feel that it's double standards," he said.

"I can't believe they can treat us in such different ways."

He also predicted the government would end up bowing to pressure "by [Friday] evening or tomorrow".

Shadow Armed Forces Minister Luke Pollard on MP Chris Pincher.

Tory backbencher Andrew Bridgen echoed Mr Parish's claims, suggesting Mr Pincher was being treated differently because he is an "arch-loyalist" to the Prime Minister.

Caroline Nokes and Karen Bradley, two Tories who chair Commons select committees, called for Mr Johnson to implement a "zero-tolerance" policy over sexual misconduct claims.

Read more: Brits face yet more travel chaos as airlines to axe more flights next week

Read more: Government draws up plan for mortgages that your kids pay for after you die

Mr Johnson was facing questions over the delay in suspending the whip and why he appointed the MP to the key role despite past allegations.

Mr Bridgen said claims about Mr Pincher had been "swirling around Westminster for years" and suggested Downing Street would surely have been aware of them.

Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson's chief aide turned critic-in-chief, accused Mr Johnson of "lying again" about his knowledge of Mr Pincher's behaviour before giving him the whips job.

Mr Cummings said Mr Johnson referred to the MP "laughingly in No 10 as 'Pincher by name, pincher by nature' long before appointing him".

Mr Pincher resigned from his post on Thursday but remains an MP
Mr Pincher resigned from his post on Thursday but remains an MP. Picture: Alamy

The Prime Minister had been resisting calls to act until the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) launched an investigation after receiving a formal complaint.

Mr Johnson spoke to several individuals on Friday, including a Tory MP who was with one of the men allegedly groped by Mr Pincher, a Downing Street source said.

"The account given was sufficiently disturbing to make the PM feel more troubled by all this," the source said.

Further claims were levelled against Mr Pincher, with The Times reporting a young Tory activist receiving an unwanted sexual advance last year.

The activist said the MP put his hand on his knee and told him he would "go far in the party" at a party conference event last year.

The latest claims are alleged to have taken place at the Carlton Club near Westminster
The latest claims are alleged to have taken place at the Carlton Club near Westminster. Picture: Alamy

Mr Pincher's lawyers told the newspaper he firmly denies the allegation, which mirrors a complaint that led to the MP's resignation from the whips' office for the first time in 2017.

Former Olympic rower and Conservative candidate Alex Story alleged Mr Pincher touched him while making an unwanted pass and using similar language.

Mr Pincher was reinstated two months later as a senior whip by Theresa May after referring himself to both the police and the Conservative Party complaints procedure.

Neil Parish accuses government of double standards

Downing Street appeared to acknowledge there had been concerns when he was appointed in February to the whips' office, with responsibility for discipline over Tory MPs.

However, a No 10 spokesman said the Prime Minister had not been made aware of anything that would have prevented the appointment going ahead.

"In the absence of any formal complaints, it was not appropriate to stop an appointment on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations," the spokesman said.

Read more: Two more Brits captured in Ukraine face death penalty as Russia labels them 'mercenaries'

Read more: Over 1m people to celebrate Pride in centre of London today

The latest allegations came after the Conservative Party was hit by a series of scandals relating to sexual misconduct.

In May, Mr Parish quit as MP for Tiverton and Honiton after admitting viewing pornography in the Commons chamber, while the previous month Wakefield MP Imran Ahmad Khan was jailed for 18 months for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

In both cases, the Conservatives lost the ensuing by-elections.

A third unnamed Conservative MP has been told by whips to stay away from Parliament after being arrested on suspicion of rape and other offences.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Breaking
Rene Graham was killed on Sunday July 21

Teen victim of west London park shooting named and pictured for the first time

Kamala Harris has praised Joe Biden

Kamala Harris pays tribute to 'unmatched' legacy of Joe Biden in first speech since he pulled out of election

Police said they attended the residence at Wexford Road, Coventry at around 12.15pm on Monday following an emergency 999 call

Woman in her 30s killed after being mauled by pet dog at home in Coventry

Secret Service boss Kimberly Cheatle denied claims she failed to provide Trump with adequate protection.

'We failed': Secret service boss brands Donald Trump shooting 'most significant failure in decades'

One of Britain's oldest cricket clubs bans players from hitting sixes after neighbours complain of damaged property

One of Britain's oldest cricket clubs bans players from hitting sixes after neighbours complain of damaged property

Anand Runwal jumped in front of the train to try to save his children

Pictured: Hero father who jumped in front of train to try to save his twin daughters, whose pushchair rolled onto tracks

The moment a sexual predator lured a 14-year-old schoolgirl to a guesthouse where he later raped her has been caught on camera.

Chilling footage captures sex predator luring schoolgirl, 14, to guesthouse before raping her after plying teen with alcohol

Migrants heading to Britain. Home Secretary Yvette cooper today revealed the scheme cost £700m and saw only four volunteers sent to Africa

Rwanda deportation scheme cost £700m and saw just four volunteers sent to Africa, Home Secretary reveals

Piccadilly line to partially close for 16 days in August causing major disruption for commuters and Arsenal fans

Piccadilly line to partially close for 16 days in August causing major disruption for commuters and Arsenal fans

Strictly pro dancer Janette Manrara breaks her silence following claims by former contestant Will Bayley

Strictly dancer Janette Manrara breaks silence following contestant's 'life-changing' injury claims

President of Croatia Zoran Milanović described the attack as a "savage unprecedented crime".

Several killed as gunman opens fire in Croatian care home

A boy was pronounced dead at the scene in Ladbroke Grove

Gunman 'jumped from bushes to assassinate 15-year-old boy' on 'family fun day' at west London park

Search for murdered Muriel McKay's remains called off by police after 'unsuccessful' farm dig

Search for murdered Muriel McKay's remains called off by police after 'unsuccessful' farm dig

Nuclear submariner Marcus Gauntlett is under investigation

Royal Navy sailor accused of stealing secrets from nuclear submarine after 'documents found on phone'

Alex Dancyg and Yagev Buchshtab died while being held in Gaza.

Israel confirms deaths of two hostages in Gaza ahead of ceasefire talks

BRITAIN-AVIATION-AIRSHOW

Labour could scrap two child benefit cap, Keir Starmer suggests ahead of backbench rebellion