- Kathryn Snowden & Paul Seddon
- BBC News
New allegations against England’s Conservative MP have accused him of assaulting men
Six new allegations of inappropriate behavior have emerged against British lawmaker Chris Fincher, days after he was suspended from the Conservative Party amid allegations he cheated on two men.
The allegations date back more than a decade.
Pincher says she is seeking professional medical help and has no plans to resign as a lawmaker.
He did not respond to the BBC’s request for an interview, but denied the allegations to the British press.
The allegations, reported by the Independent, Mail on Sunday and Sunday Times newspapers, include three cases where Pincher allegedly made unwanted advances to male MPs, including in Parliament and in her own parliamentary office.
There are no official complaints against him.
According to British media, one of the MPs contacted the Prime Minister’s Office in February with details of what she said had happened to her and expressed her concern that Pincher would become a Conservative whip.
A Member of Parliament whip is responsible for making colleagues follow party guidelines, i.e. vote with the party.
The Prime Minister’s Office said it was not aware of the specific allegations when Prime Minister Boris Johnson appointed Fincher as deputy whip in February.
Work and Pensions Minister Therese Coffey told the BBC’s Sunday Morning program that she had been told “this morning” that she was “not aware of the specific allegations” before the Prime Minister made the appointment.
He has not spoken to the prime minister personally, but someone from Johnson’s press office confirmed he was not aware of the allegations against Fincher.
Speaking to Sky News earlier, Coffey said the appointment “usually went through a vetting process”.
However, the Prime Minister’s Office did not deny the claims of former Johnson aide Dominic Cummings, who noted that the prime minister was “Pincher by name, Pincher by nature” before naming him.
In English, the verb “pinch” means “to pinch”. Cummings is therefore believed to be ironically referring to Pincher’s reputation for making unwanted advances against men.
Pincher, 52, resigned as whip on Thursday after claiming he had groped two men the previous night at the Carlton Club, a club for Conservative Party members in London.
Shortly after the announcement, the Prime Minister’s Office first indicated that Johnson had closed the matter.
But Fincher was suspended from the Conservative Party on Friday (7/1) and will now continue as an independent (non-party) MP.
He said he had “drank too much” on Wednesday night, “embarrassed myself and others and regrets the trouble I have caused”.
“The strains of the past few days, added to the past few months, have made me accept that I would benefit from professional medical help,” Pincher said in a statement.
“I am now in the process of continuing this and hope to be able to return to my electoral duties soon.”
Minister Coffey said Johnson had taken “decisive steps” to suspend Fincher on Friday.
However, Labour’s Jonathan Reynolds, who opposes Boris Johnson’s government, told British broadcaster Sky that the Conservatives were motivated by “what is politically correct”.
Complaints against MPs are investigated by independent investigators who can make recommendations on further action. If they decide to suspend or expel a member of Parliament, it must be voted on by the other peers.
This isn’t the first time Pincher has been involved in sexual harassment allegations. He lost his whip in 2017 when he was accused of unsavory action against former Olympic rower and conservation activist Alex Storey.
But after a party hearing, Pincher was cleared of a code of conduct violation.
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