Boris Johnson was “unaware” of any “specific” allegations about Chris Pincher when he appointed him as deputy head whip, No.10 has said.
Pincher resigned from his government post on Thursday evening and enforced discipline among Conservative MPs.
He has been accused of sexually assaulting two male guests at the Carlton Club, a private Tory Party members’ club in London’s Piccadilly, but has been allowed to remain as a Conservative MP.
Pincher said he “embarrassed myself and other people” after drinking “way too much”.
According to Politico, Johnson was made aware of allegations about Pincher’s past behavior before appointing him as deputy head whip in the latest reshuffle in February.
But No.10 disputed the account. “The prime minister was not aware of any specific allegations before the appointment,” the prime minister’s spokesman said on Friday.
“There was no reason to stop the appointment without a formal complaint.”
The spokesperson said Pincher could not be stopped from getting a job based on “baseless allegations”.
It’s the second time Pincher has left the whip office. He resigned from his junior whip in November 2017 following a complaint that he had made an unwanted pass on former Olympic rower and Conservative candidate Alex Story.
In his letter of resignation to the prime minister yesterday, Pincher apologized for his behavior and said it had been “the honor of my life” to have served in government.
“Last night I drank way too much. I have embarrassed myself and other people which is the last thing I want to do and for that I apologize to you and those involved,” he said.
“I think it is appropriate in the circumstances that I resign as deputy head whip. I owe it to you and the people I upset to do this.
“I want to assure you that you will continue to have my full support from the back seats. It has been the honor of my life to have served in Her Majesty’s Government.”
The spokesman said Johnson and Pincher “exchanged messages” about the resignation but declined to disclose what was said.