UK MP accused of ‘groping’ suspended by Conservative Party

EuroActiv Politico News

LONDON — A high-ranking MP accused of sexual misconduct has been suspended from the Conservative Party, less than 24 hours after Downing Street signaled it would take no further action.

Chris Pincher resigned as deputy chief whip late Thursday evening after the Sun newspaper alleged he had groped two men at a private members’ club. In a resignation letter to the PM, he admitted he “drank far too much” and “embarrassed myself and other people.”

A Downing Street official initially said Pincher was not expected to face further disciplinary action and would keep the party whip, allowing him to continue as a Conservative MP.

However, Pincher was suspended from the party Friday evening following an outcry from MPs on all sides.

A spokesperson for the chief whip said: “Having heard that a formal complaint has been made to the ICGS [independent complaints and grievance scheme], the PM has agreed with the chief whip that the whip should be suspended from Chris Pincher while the investigation is ongoing.

“We will not pre-judge that investigation. We urge colleagues and the media to respect that process.”

Earlier, POLITICO revealed claims by MPs and government aides that No. 10 had been aware of concerns about Pincher’s behavior since the beginning of the year. 

Pincher has been replaced as deputy chief whip by Kelly Tolhurst, a female Conservative MP.