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Boris Johnson unaware of specific claims: minister

Written by The Frontier Post

LONDON (BBC): Boris Johnson was not aware of “specific allegations” against Chris Pincher when he was promoted to deputy chief whip, a Cabinet minister says.
Mr Pincher was suspended as a Conservative Party MP earlier this week over allegations he had groped two men. He now faces six new claims of inappropriate behaviour stretching back several years, which he has denied.
Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey defended the PM, saying he took “decisive action” to suspend the MP.
Ms Coffey told the BBC that “to the best of my knowledge” Mr Johnson was not aware of specific allegations about Mr Pincher, saying she had not spoken to the prime minister directly and had received the assurance from the No 10 press office. Earlier, she told Sky News Mr Pincher’s appointment, in February, had gone through a vetting process “like normal”. It comes after a number of fresh allegations involving Mr Pincher and No 10’s handling of the claims were reported by newspapers this weekend.
The Sunday Times reported that in 2018 Mr Pincher made unwanted advances towards a male Tory MP, who passed on his account of what happened to No 10. The Sunday Times reported Mr Pincher had placed his hand on the inner leg of a male Tory MP in a bar in Parliament in 2017. He did not respond to the BBC but denied the allegations to newspapers.
MP facing groping allegation seeks medical support Tory whip resigns saying he ’embarrassed himself’ Mr Pincher, who remains an independent MP for Tamworth in Staffordshire, quit as Tory deputy chief whip after he was accused of drunkenly groping two men at a private members’ club in London on Wednesday.
No 10 initially suggested Mr Johnson considered the matter closed, but later suspended the MP from the party after he was reported to Parliament’s independent behaviour watchdog. The prime minister had been coming under pressure to act from some senior Tory MPs and opposition parties to suspend Mr Pincher. A government source later defended the speed with which Mr Pincher was suspended, saying No 10 had acted swiftly after the complaint was lodged. On Sunday, Labour’s shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds told Sky the party had been motivated by “what is politically expedient over what is right”.
Meanwhile, No 10 has not denied a claim by Mr Johnson’s former chief aide, Dominic Cummings, that the PM referred to the former deputy chief whip as “Pincher by name, pincher by nature” before appointing him.
Downing Street’s justification for appointing Chris Pincher seems to hang on the lack of a formal complaint. It hasn’t (so far) appeared to deny that Boris Johnson had any knowledge at all about some of the rumours surrounding him.
So, this will, in the end, come down to what his MPs make of that as a judgement call.
It’s worth noting that it is the prime minister who decides who to appoint to his government, so this was, ultimately, his call to make.

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