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Boris Johnson ‘was aware’ of allegations of sexual misconduct against Chris Pincher, No 10 admits

Boris Johnson “was aware” of previous allegations of sexual misconduct against Chris Pincher when promoted him this year, No 10 has admitted.

The prime minister spokesman also did not deny he used the phrase “Pincher by name, pincher by nature” against the former deputy chief whip – who quit and is now being investigated for alleged groping.

Last week, No 10 insisted Mr Johnson was unaware of any specific allegations against the MP – but its story has shifted, deepening the latest scandal to engulf Mr Johnson.

The spokesman acknowledged he “was aware of media reports” and of “allegations that were either resolved or did not progress to a formal complaint”, when Mr Pincher was appointed in February.

However, he continued to insist that – in the absence of any formal complaint against him – it would not have been “appropriate” to block to a role with responsibility for MPs’ welfare.

The spokesman was also unable to say what efforts were made to establish if allegations could be substantiated – and indicated Mr Pincher was not asked about them directly.

He also said No 10 has no plan to investigate the process that led to his appointment, amid reports that Downing Street was specifically warned against it.

Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s former chief aide, has alleged that he referred to the former deputy chief whip as “Pincher by name, pincher by nature” long before the appointment in February.

But said: “I’m simply not going to comment on content of what was or wasn’t said in private conversations” – revealing he had not asked Mr Johnson if the claim is true.


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