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

1 July 2022, 13:57 | Updated: 1 July 2022, 15:32

By Fiona Jones

It comes after the Prime Minister accepted the Tory MP's resignation from his role as the deputy chief whip, following undisputed groping allegations.

Boris Johnson has accepted Chris Pincher's resignation as deputy chief whip, branding the actions as "unacceptable."

Christopher Pincher sent a letter of resignation to Prime Minister Boris Johnson in which he admitted he had "embarrassed myself and other people" by drinking "far too much".

Reports said allegations were made to the chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris that Mr Pincher groped two men at a Piccadilly members club on Wednesday night.

The Times reported Mr Heaton-Harris spoke to the alleged victims and then Mr Pincher himself.

This is not Mr Pincher's first resignation from the the whip; in 2017 he quit over allegations of groping, over which he was subsequently cleared by a Conservative Party investigation.

Mr Pincher currently still holds his seat in Tamworth despite the undisputed allegations, causing James O'Brien to question why he hasn't resigned.

He continued: "If you sent a letter to your boss saying you're going to have to step down from your senior role because you've embarrassed yourself and other people, and you're sending that letter amid widespread, currently un-refuted allegations that you groped two men at the Conservative Party's spiritual home, the Carlton Club.

"Am I right in thinking that this fellow's feet wouldn't have touched the floor if this had happened under any other Prime Minister?"

James was adamant that this would be a resignation from the House of Commons under another Government, and a subsequent by-election: "You can't resign after allegations of groping that you haven't denied and keep your job."

Chris Pincher resigned his post as deputy chief whip, writing to the Prime Minister: "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 think 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 the 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 said Mr Pincher would continue to sit as a Tory MP as he was considered to have done the right thing by admitting wrongdoing and resigning, however Boris Johnson is facing calls to expel him from the party.

Should Mr Pincher resign as a minister, this would be the fourth by-election this year, with the Conservatives losing both of the most recent by-elections in both Wakefield and Tiverton and Honiton.

Tiverton and Honiton's former MP Neil Parrish resigned from the post after he was found watching porn in the Commons, while the former Tory MP for Wakefield Imran Ahmad Khan was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in 2008.

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