Parliament watchdog drops probe into groping claims by Chris Pincher – reports

The former deputy chief whip at the center of the controversy that led to Boris Johnson’s death is not being investigated by Parliament’s watchdog over allegations of drunken groping at a private members’ club, it has been said.

Chris Pincher dramatically resigned from government on June 30 after allegedly assaulting two fellow guests at London’s exclusive Carlton Club the night before.

Mr Pincher was the Tory MP for Tamworth in Staffordshire but now sits in the House of Commons as an independent after Mr Johnson bowed to pressure to remove the Conservative stick after a formal complaint was made to the Parliament watchdog over allegations of bullying , harassment or sexual misconduct .

We can neither confirm nor deny current investigations

But the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) has dropped the complaint because the alleged incident did not take place at the parliamentary estate, The Sunday Times and The Observer reported.

The regulator’s guidelines appear to confirm that the allegations about Mr Pincher would fall outside their scope.

The ICGS “applies to bullying or harassment or sexual misconduct committed by and against members of the parliamentary community on the parliamentary estate or elsewhere in connection with their parliamentary activities,” according to its website.

A House of Commons spokesman said they “cannot confirm or deny any ongoing investigations” as the ICGS “operates on a basis of confidentiality for the benefit of all parties”.

“As a result, we cannot provide any information about complaints or investigations, including whether a complaint has been received or whether an investigation is ongoing.”

The Guardian reported that at least one of the victims is said to have appealed the decision not to trace Mr Pincher.

The incident gained traction when Downing Street initially said Mr Johnson was unaware of previous allegations against Mr Pincher.

But Lord McDonald, a former permanent secretary at the Foreign Office, went public to say Mr Johnson was “personally briefed” on a 2019 complaint against Mr Pincher at the Foreign Office.

The then Prime Minister later admitted that he had been informed of inappropriate behavior three years earlier.

Mr Johnson’s handling of the scandal unleashed a surge of pent-up frustration at his leadership, already damaged by lockdown busting parties at Downing Street and by-election defeats. It led to Mr Johnson bleeding support in the Tory ranks and eventually announcing he was stepping down.

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