Conservative MP Chris Pincher has lost the Tory whip after he quit as Deputy Chief Whip over drunken behaviour – but he is still in line for a £7,920 golden goodbye

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Tory deputy chief whip quits after drunken incident

Tory chiefs today stripped the whip from an MP accused of “groping” two men after the decision to keep him in the Conservatives sparked outcry.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has agreed that the Conservative whip should be suspended while the MP is investigated by the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme, a Tory spokeswoman said this afternoon.

Chris Pincher will now sit as an independent MP while that investigation is ongoing.

A spokeswoman for Conservative chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris said: “Having heard that a formal complaint has been made to the ICGS, the PM has agreed with the Chief Whip that the whip should be suspended from Chris Pincher while the investigation is ongoing.

Tory MP Chris Pincher is still in line for a £7,920 golden goodbye 
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Tamworth Herald)

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

Kelly Tolhurst has been appointed deputy chief whip as Mr Pincher’s replacement.

The ICGS is parliament’s mechanism for investigating official complaints of inappropriate behaviour by MPs and is independent of party politics.

It came after a furious backlash to the decision for Mr Pincher to resign as Deputy Chief Whip over drunken behaviour but keep the whip.

Two of the Tories’ most prominent female MPs today blasted their party’s “inconsistent and unclear approach” to sexual misconduct.

MPs accused Mr Pincher of “groping” two men in the glitzy Carlton private members’ club, pictured
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Caroline Nokes and Karen Bradley warned recent cases could cause “serious reputational damage” to the government in a letter to the Chief Whip.

The Equalities and Procedure committee chiefs demanded a code of conduct for all Tory MPs and a “zero-tolerance” approach to allegations in which any MP loses the whip while under investigation.

MPs accused Mr Pincher of “groping” two men in the glitzy Carlton private members’ club on London’s Piccadilly on Wednesday night, The Sun revealed.

Mr Pincher said he had been “drinking too much” and “embarrassing himself and others” – but did not comment on the details of the allegations.

The Prime Minister exchanged “private messages” with Mr Pincher amid his resignation. But Downing Street refused to say the Prime Minister would open an investigation or even publish a formal response letter.

No10 added Boris Johnson would urge any complainants to take a formal case to Parliament’s independent panel.

Chris Pincher with his former boss, Chief Whip Chris Heaton-Harris
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AFP via Getty Images)

Mr Pincher will get a £7,920 golden goodbye – a quarter of his annual whip’s salary – that goes to all ministers who are ousted for more than three weeks, regardless of why.

Downing Street admitted “allegations” were raised at the time Mr Pincher got his whips’ office job in February’s Cabinet reshuffle.

Those allegations were sent to the Cabinet Office’s propriety and ethics team, but the team cleared the appointment of Mr Pincher because they were “unsubstantiated”.

“In the absence of any formal complaint it was not appropriate to stop the appointment on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations,” the PM’s deputy spokesman said.

Despite three sources telling Politico the PM was made aware of allegations against Mr Pincher during the reshuffle, Downing Street today tried to insist he was not.

The spokesman said: “The Prime Minister was not aware of any allegation before the appointment was made.”

However, the spokesman later suggested he had “mis-spoken”, and corrected himself to say the PM was not aware of any “specific allegation”.

The spokesman did not clarify what specific allegation the Prime Minister was unaware of.

Mr Pincher had previously resigned from the whips’ office in 2017 and referred himself to police after a former Olympic rower accused him of an unwanted sexual pass.

MP Chris Pincher
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His resignation letter as Deputy Chief Whip

Alex Story alleged Pincher took him to his flat, massaged his neck and tried to untuck his shirt while saying: “You will go far in the Conservative Party.”

Mr Pincher was later cleared of wrongdoing over the incident in 2001, before he was an MP, by a Conservative probe.

The PM’s deputy official spokesman suggested Mr Pincher was the “best fit” for the whips’ office job – which includes liaising with MPs over their welfare.

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