Minister says PM cannot ‘act on gossip’ as Pincher scandal continues

This morning a minister has defended Boris Johnson’s appointment of disgraced MP Chris Pincher as deputy chief whip back in February.

Pincher announced his resignation from the role last Thursday evening with a letter that began: “Dear 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 I apologize to those concerned.”

The Sun reportedTwo guests were allegedly groped by Tamworth MP at the Carlton Club on the previous night.

Pincher has denied these claims.


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Will Quince, children and families minister, stated earlier today that the prime minster could not have “act[ed] on rumour or gossip” when it This isfor government appointments.

His remarks come after reports that Boris Johnson was aware of the Pincher’s reputationFor being “handsy” and even allegedly referred to him as “Pincher by name, Pincher by nature”. 

This weekend’s papers published a slew of fresh sexual misconduct allegations against Pincher, spanning back a decade. 

On this morning’s media round Quince echoed the line given by work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey’s yesterday, that No 10 was unaware of any “specific allegations” that ought to have ruled out Pincher for the whip role EarlierThis year.

Quince stressed he had been given “categorical assurance” from Downing Street that this was the case.

Quizzed over why Johnson promoted Pincher back in February, Quince told Sky News that “These cases are hard because like any professional organisation you can’t act on rumour or gossip and in Westminster there is a lot of rumour or gossip.”

Quince has not appeared on the morning media rounds in person. PreviousMonths and The decisionSending him on the airwaves could signal that senior ministers don’t want to defend No. 10 in the ongoing scandal.

However Quince claims he was scheduled to take this morning’s interviews “five days ago” to discuss the government’s new childcare plans.

 “I am certainly not going to defend the former deputy chief whip. The allegations are incredibly serious and I am appalled by them,” he went on.

More to come