Chris Pincher: Disgraced MP ‘incredibly drunk’ on night he allegedly groped two men | Political news

Chris Pincher was ‘incredibly drunk’ the night he allegedly groped two men, MPs at the Carlton Club that night told Sky News.

‘He was over the line when he should have been socialising,’ one MP said.

“He was mumbling and mumbling nonsense and came back saying he needed the toilet after he was asked to leave.”

And asked him if he had seen Mr Pincherwho has been MP for Tamworth in Staffordshire since 2010, drunk before, the MP said: “Not bad. He was incredibly drunk.”

In his first public statement since his suspension from the Tory Whip, Mr Pincher, the former Deputy Chief Whip, admitted he ‘drank way too much on Wednesday night’ and is now looking for medical support.

And another MP present at the Carlton Club, where Tory MPs and supporters had attended a Tory Friends of Cyprus reception, told Sky News it was around 1am when Mr Pincher finally left the club, after the bar closes.

The latest revelations about Wednesday’s events at the elite club coincide with growing pressure on Boris Johnson over his decision to appoint Mr Pincher to such a sensitive government post when he reshuffled in February this year.

The Sunday Telegraph reports that the PM has ‘turned a blind eye’ to sex parasite warnings about Mr Pincher.

The Sunday Mirror says he was warned twice, and The Independent says a Tory MP alleges he was groped twice by Mr Pincher.

Analysis: PM shamed for disciplining close ally accused of trial and error

‘He has his hand. It is a problem’

The Mail on Sunday, reporting a claim first made by the Prime Minister’s former chief adviser Dominic Cummings, said Mr Johnson was aware of concerns about Mr Pincher’s behavior two years ago and told his aides, “He’s got the hand. That’s a problem. Pincher by name, pincher by nature.”

Downing Street did not deny there were concerns about Mr Pincher before his appointment, but insisted Mr Johnson ‘was not aware of any specific allegations’.

Image:
Boris Johnson and Chris Pincher

One of the MPs at the Carlton Club on Wednesday, asked if he was aware of Mr Pincher’s reputation, told Sky News: ‘There have been rumors for a while but there is a difference between rumors and hard facts.”

Tory MPs in attendance hailed the actions of two 2019 admissions members, Sarah Dines and Mark Fletcher, for helping to calm things down after a man complained to Ms Dines about being groped twice by Mr Pincher.

It is understood Ms Dines, a family law barrister who is MP for Derbyshire Dales, witnessed the incident involving one of the two men and later reported it to Chief Government Whip Chris Heaton -Harris.

“She behaved extremely well”

Describing Ms Dines’ actions at the Carlton Club, a female MP who attended told Sky News: ‘She was trying to get Pincher to leave. She did everything she could to make the situation better. She was extremely well behaved.’

When Mr Pincher did not leave, Mr Fletcher – MP for Bolsover – offered to help and took the 52-year-old former MP for Tamworth outside in St James’s Street in Piccadilly, but he came back to use the toilets before finally leaving at about 1am, escorted by Mr Fletcher.

Pincher and Johnson powerless over threat of by-election

Jon Craig - Chief Political Correspondent

Jon Craig

Chief Political Correspondent

@joncraig

Chris Pincher’s statement breaking his silence on the drunken groping allegations was both contrite and defiant.

It was contrite because he has pledged to co-operate with the investigation now being undertaken by the Commons’ foolishness watchdog, the Independent Complaints and Grievances Regime.

But it was defiant because he made it clear he had no intention of stepping down as an MP and hoped to return to his constituency duties “as soon as possible”, he said.

That, however, is almost certainly out of his hands. The investigation may take some time, depending on the number of complainants and witnesses.

And if the result is a Commons suspension, there will likely be a recall petition in Tamworth that could trigger a by-election that he and Boris Johnson – after his failed bid to save Owen Paterson – would be powerless to prevent.

Read the full analysis here

Government sources strongly defended Ms Dines after she was criticized in The Sunday Times by one of the men accusing Mr Pincher of groping. The man said he was “taken aback” when she asked him if he was gay.

Sky News understands Mr Heaton-Harris has faith in her and believes she acted quickly and correctly when she witnessed inappropriate behavior and ensured the matter was reported.

“We take all allegations of this nature very seriously.”

Describing the incident, government sources said she was approached on Wednesday by an individual who complained to her about inappropriate behavior.

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Ex-Conservative MP: double standards on Pincher

Responding to the claim that she asked if the man was gay, sources said she asked a series of questions to better understand what happened and to establish whether the individual knew Mr Pincher and whether there was a prior relationship.

And government sources say the very fact that Ms Dines was approached about it and followed up with the chief whip shows how seriously she took it.

Responding to the Prime Minister’s latest criticism, a government spokesman told Sky News: ‘We take all allegations of this nature very seriously and encourage anyone with allegations to present themselves to the relevant authorities.

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