A member of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government, responsible for parliamentary discipline for Conservative MPs, resigned after allegations of touching two men, a new political ordeal for the leader already weakened by scandals.
In a resignation letter Thursday, Deputy Chief Whip Chris Pincher admitted to “drinking far too much” and apologized for “shaming him and others.”
According to multiple UK media outlets, the 52-year-old Conservative MP touched two men, including an MP, at a private club in central London, the Carlton Club, on Wednesday night, prompting complaints from the Conservative Party.
Despite stepping down as Deputy Chief Whip, Chris Pincher remains an MP, prompting calls for his expulsion from the party and an internal investigation.
“There is no question for Conservatives to ignore a possible sexual assault,” tweeted Angela Rayner, No. 2 of the Labor Party, the main opposition party.
“Boris Johnson now has to say how Chris Pincher can remain a Tory MP,” she added, bemoaning a “total deterioration in standards of public life” under the Prime Minister.
Chris Pincher, appointed in February, resigned as Junior Whip in 2017 over allegations of sexual advances towards an Olympic athlete and potential Conservative election candidate.
This case adds to an embarrassing string of other sex cases for the ruling party in recent months.
An unnamed lawmaker suspected of rape was arrested and later released on bail in mid-May, another resigned in April for viewing pornography on his cell phone in the House of Representatives in April, and a former lawmaker was sacked in May Sentenced to 18 months in prison for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.
Boris Johnson’s government, despite anti-COVID restrictions during the pandemic, has also been rocked by scandals such as Downing Street parties, where the leader faced a no-confidence vote from his own camp, which he narrowly survived.
He already paid dearly for these cases in the elections after the Conservatives were clearly defeated in two by-elections in June.