UK Conservative Party Whip Resigns Over ‘Groping’ Allegation

By Alexander Zhang
Alexander Zhang
Alexander Zhang
July 1, 2022 Updated: July 1, 2022

A Conservative party whip has resigned after allegations emerged that he had groped two other men in a drunken incident.

Chris Pincher, who was a Tory deputy chief whip responsible for maintaining discipline among Conservative MPs, said he had “embarrassed” himself after having had too much to drink.

In his resignation letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Pincher apologised for his behaviour, saying it had been “the honour of my life” to have served in the government.

“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,” he said.

“I think the right thing 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.”

The Sun, a British tabloid, reported that Pincher had “groped” two male guests at the Carlton Club, a Conservative Party private members’ club in London’s Piccadilly, on Wednesday evening.

Simon Hart, a government minister in charge of Welsh affairs, said Conservative chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris would be having “conversations” throughout the day and that “we might be having a very different conversation as the day goes on.”

‘Mired in Sleaze’

It is the second time Pincher has quit the whips office, having resigned as a junior whip in November 2017 following a complaint that he made an unwanted pass at the former Olympic rower and Conservative candidate Alex Story.

Having referred himself to both the police and the Conservative Party complaints procedure, he was brought back by Theresa May as deputy chief whip in January 2018.

When Johnson became prime minister in July 2019, he was moved to the Foreign Office as minister for Europe and the Americas before returning to the whips office for a third time in February 2022 to shore up support for the prime minister amid growing unrest among Tory MPs over the “partygate” scandal.

The Tory Party has lost several MPs recently over a series of scandals.

In May, Imran Ahmad Khan, Tory MP for Wakefield, resigned after being convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

In the same month, the Tory MP for Tiverton and Honiton Neil Parish resigned after he admitted watching pornography in the Commons chamber.

Labour said the latest incident showed the Tory Party was “mired in sleaze and scandal” and questioned how Pincher could still be allowed to take the Conservative whip given what had happened before.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said Pincher should have the whip suspended while a full investigation is carried out.

PA Media contributed to this report.