Downing Street refuses to comment on MP's Stanley Johnson accusation

16 November 2021, 06:52 | Updated: 16 November 2021, 15:23

Stanley Johnson has been accused of inappropriately touching a journalist and an MP
Stanley Johnson has been accused of inappropriately touching a journalist and an MP. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

Downing Street has refused to comment after two women, including a Tory MP, accused the Prime Minister's father Stanley Johnson of inappropriately touching them.

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Caroline Nokes said the elder Mr Johnson forcefully smacked her on the backside and said she had "a lovely seat" in 2003 ahead of him running to be a Tory MP.

Ms Nokes' allegation prompted Ailbhe Rea, a journalist for the New Statesman, to accuse Mr Johnson of having "groped" her at the 2019 Conservative Party conference.

A No 10 spokesman said today: "I'm not going to be drawn into specific allegations against a private individual.

"Of course we would want anyone in any circumstance who feels they have been a victim of any kind of harassment to come forward and report them to the appropriate authorities."

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Ms Nokes - MP for Romsey and Southampton North, and chair of the Commons Women and Equalities Committee - suggested the Prime Minister's father touched her inappropriately during the Tory party conference in Blackpool in 2003, ahead of Mr Johnson running in the Teignbridge seat in Devon in 2005.

"I've had male MPs stick their hands on my backside in Strangers' Bar (in Parliament)," she said during a panel discussion.

"And I can remember a really prominent man smacking me on the backside about as hard as he could and going, 'Oh, Romsey, you've got a lovely seat'.

"Stanley Johnson did that to me ahead of the '05 election, so it was Blackpool... 2003/4.

She added she felt "ashamed" that she had not done anything about it, but added: "Now I probably would."

Mr Johnson declined to comment about her allegation made to Sky News, other than to say he has "no recollection of Caroline Nokes at all".

Responding to the allegation on Twitter, Ms Rea said: "Stanley Johnson also groped me at a party at Conservative conference in 2019.

"I am grateful to Caroline Nokes for calling out something that none of us should have to put up with, not least from the Prime Minister's father."

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Mr Johnson lost the campaign to become an MP in 2005 but had served as a Conservative member of the European Parliament between 1979 and 1984.

Mr Johnson, now 81, did not immediately respond when contacted by the PA news agency about both of the allegations.

But, regarding the initial accusation, he told Sky News: "I have no recollection of Caroline Nokes at all. But there you go... and no reply."