Politics live: 'Huge development' as Boris Johnson 'exposed' by explosive letter on Chris Pincher

7/5/2022 3:03:00 PM

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner says the latest allegations regarding Chris Pincher are 'all about abuse of power' and says Boris Johnson's defence has been 'completely blown apart' by the former chief at the Foreign Office, Lord McDonald. 📺 Sky 501

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner says the latest allegations regarding Chris Pincher are 'all about abuse of power' and says Boris Johnson's defence has been 'completely blown apart' by the former chief at the Foreign Office, Lord McDonald. 📺 Sky 501

Politics Hub brings you the latest political news, insight and analysis from the Sky News team in Westminster. Boris Johnson is facing questions about his decision to appoint Chris Pincher deputy chief whip after more allegations about his conduct come to light.

The prime minister's official spokesman was asked directly why he misled journalists in the lobby briefing yesterday.The official spokesman, who is a civil servant and not a political appointee, said the fact Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has now publicly discussed the FCDO investigation meant he was able to say more about it.

He later said he believed this briefing took place in late 2019."It was not raised as a disciplinary issue or anything related to the ministerial code, and the prime minister was informed but not asked to take any action as a result of that. And the minister as a result of that action carried on serving in that department for a number of months."

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Pressure mounts on Boris Johnson over Chris Pincher appointment\n\t\t\tKeep abreast of significant corporate, financial and political developments around the world.\n\t\t\tStay informed and spot emerging risks and opportunities with independent global reporting, expert\n\t\t\tcommentary and analysis you can trust.\n\t\t How long are you going to stay silent on the theSNP cover up? Borris feels no pressure, he does not have the emotional capacity to care enough.

Chris Pincher suspension: Boris Johnson unaware of specific claims - ministerTherese Coffey says the ex-Tory MP facing groping allegations was vetted before being promoted. Don’t believe Johnson. How about a fact-check as part of the tweet. The BBC needs to be more than a parrot. Really? Anyone believe that? More likely Pinchers behaviour is so normalised in Johnson’s He didn't see the issue x

Boris Johnson faces the Commons for first time since Chris Pincher scandalBRUISED Boris Johnson will face MPs in the Commons today for the first time since the Chris Pincher groping scandal rocked Westminster. The Prime Minister is expected to make a statement this after… Getting drunk is a scandal ? Rely on others to tell you what you did? Rely on former ex Downing Street advisor , removed , for past comments? Blame Boris!

i morning briefing: Could the Pincher saga topple Boris Johnson?Amid fresh questions from Labour and emboldened Tory rebels - how are things looking for the PM? I’m sure you and the rest of the media will do your best to see it does. BackBoris Could Pincher be the clincher..

Boris Johnson Aware Of 'Reports And Speculation' Before Chris Pincher Appointment, Says No.10But Downing Street says there was 'no formal complaint' at the time he was made deputy chief whip.

Boris Johnson did know of concerns about Chris Pincher he became whipOn Friday, Downing Street insisted Boris Johnson was “not aware of any specific allegations” about the MP.

Welcome to the Politics Hub 13:00:50 Downing Street suggests PM forgot he was briefed on investigation which upheld complaint against Chris Pincher in 2019 Downing Street have confirmed Boris Johnson was briefed on a Foreign Office investigation which upheld a complaint of inappropriate behaviour against Chris Pincher in 2019 - despite previously saying the PM was unaware of specific allegations against him.Make informed decisions with the FT Keep abreast of significant corporate, financial and political developments around the world.Tory whip resigns saying he 'embarrassed himself' Mr Pincher, who remains an independent MP for Tamworth in Staffordshire, quit as Tory deputy chief whip after he was accused of drunkenly groping two men at a private members' club in London on Wednesday.ConservativeHome shows the PM’s popularity sits at -21.

The prime minister's official spokesman was asked directly why he misled journalists in the lobby briefing yesterday. He responded:"I will always seek to provide the information I have available to me at the time of each briefing. Choose your subscription Try full digital access and see why over 1 million readers subscribe to the FT 1 € for 4 weeks. I can get into the details of what we have established but I don't accept what you've said. A government source later defended the speed with which Mr Pincher was suspended, saying No 10 had acted swiftly after the complaint was lodged." He went on:"I think those of you that were here for yesterday's briefing would have heard me say that he was aware of allegations that were either resolved, and that would relate to the FCDO investigation, or that did not progress to a complaint.  "And it was important to be clear on that and that's why I made the point of updating you all when we had the information available to us yesterday. Days after The Sun sensationally exposed details of Pincher's alleged drunken gropes on Thursday last week, enemies of Mr Johnson began to organise.

"  The official spokesman, who is a civil servant and not a political appointee, said the fact Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has now publicly discussed the FCDO investigation meant he was able to say more about it. He told BBC Radio 4's World This Weekend the questions around the party's leadership had become "dominant" and party needed unity. "The deputy prime minister has talked through the detail of this case I was unable to do that yesterday given the anonymity of the incident, but I'm now able to given it's been raised by the deputy prime minister and former permanent secretary," he said. "A complaint was made. It was looked into through the Foreign Office processes with support from the propriety and ethics team. It hasn't (so far) appeared to deny that Boris Johnson had any knowledge at all about some of the rumours surrounding him. The complaint was upheld albeit not dealt with as a formal disciplinary matter and was resolved as such.

"I can confirm [the PM] was briefed on that about the complaint relating to Mr Pincher in the Foreign Office , which was resolved. I don't believe that there was formal meeting to inform him of that, but I'm still seeking to establish details. And elsewhere, Tory MP Craig Whittaker has denied suggestions in the Sunday Telegraph that he left his role in the whips' office in February in opposition to Mr Pincher's appointment, saying he stood down over health issues." He later said he believed this briefing took place in late 2019. Asked why the PM thought it was still appropriate to appoint Mr Pincher to deputy chief whip in February 2022, the spokesman said:  "The prime minister at the time when he offered the job, was not aware of any new specific allegations that were being looked at, as clarified yesterday. "That was the fullest picture we had yesterday, which we sort of set out.

You will know that some of this goes back over a number of years and so it has taken a number of days to get some of that information out. That's why I clarified the position on Monday. "It was not raised as a disciplinary issue or anything related to the ministerial code, and the prime minister was informed but not asked to take any action as a result of that. And the minister as a result of that action carried on serving in that department for a number of months." Pressed on the issue, the spokesman confirmed the PM was made aware of allegations against Mr Pincher by the propriety and ethics team after he was offered the role of deputy chief whip.

He added the claim raised was"essentially unsubstantiated" but acknowledged it was not for the propriety and ethics team to"sign off" the appointment and that the final decision is for ministers. Since Mr Pincher's resignation on Thursday night ministers have repeatedly said in interviews that the PM was not aware of allegations against him. Yesterday education minister Will Quince told Sky News he had received"categorical assurances" from Number 10 that this was the case.  Asked whether it was correct that the PM had just failed to remember that he had been briefed on the matter, the spokesman replied: "Broadly, although I would add a caveat at least that this was related to a conversation, and what I believe to have been a brief conversation, that took place around three years ago." Asked if he had faith the prime minister was telling the full truth over this incident, the spokesman said:"Yes.

" 12:58:54 Criticisms being launched from across the house MPs from Labour, the SNP, Liberal Democrats and the Conservative Party have all now criticised the government. John Penrose, the Conservative MP for Weston-Super-Mare, highlights that Number 10 is said to have lied - breaking one of the Nolan Principles of public life. He asks how many more the government will break before the minister says"enough is enough". Mr Ellis says he doesn't accept the premise of the question. 12:51:17 Wragg: This is a matter of 'political judgement' William Wragg, the Tory MP for Hazel Grove, said the"question that faces the government.

.. is for them to consider what they are being asked to say in public." He says this"changes seemingly by the hour" - and asked ministers to"consider the common sense of decency that I know the vast majority of them have". Mr Wragg told them to ask themselves if they can"tolerate a government which for better or worse is widely regarded as having lost its sense of direction.

" He says it isn't a question of"systems" but of"political judgement". In response, Michael Ellis said Mr Wragg is"quite wrong". He said:"This is a government that knows its direction and that is to serve the British people." 12:49:33 Paymaster general: PM told of allegations in 2019 Michael Ellis says Boris Johnson was told about inquiry into Chris Pincher in 2019 - but"did not immediately recall" this when allegations arose again last month. "My understanding is as follows.

In October 2019, officials raised concerns with the permanent secretary concerning the member in question [Chris Pincher].  "The permanent secretary commissioned work to establish facts - that was undertaken on his behalf by the Cabinet Office.   "This exercise, reported in due course to the then permanent secretary who had agreed its terms.  "The exercise established that while the minister meant no harm, what had occurred caused a high level of discomfort.   "This is what the exercise established.

The minister apologised, and those raising the concern accepted the resolution.  "The prime minister was made aware of this issue in late 2019.  "He was told that the permanent secretary had taken the necessary action.  "No issue, therefore, arose about [Chris Pincher] remaining as a minister. "And last week, when fresh allegations arose, the prime minister did not immediately recall the conversation late 2019 about this incident.

"As soon as he was reminded, the Number 10 press office corrected their public lines. "The position is quite clear. "Further enquiries will be made, but the position is that the prime minister acted with probity at all times." 12:44:44 Rayner: 'This constant charade just will not wash' Angela Rayner, Labour's deputy leader, said the latest allegations regarding Chris Pincher are"all about abuse of power". She added there is"one common fault" with the system, which is the"power that's granted by this prime minister.

" Ms Rayner said:"The prime minister spoke about personal responsibility, well the minister needs to remind the prime minister of his personal responsibility." She went on to recount the changing accounts of Boris Johnson's knowledge of the Pincher situation, saying:"The truth is out today." She said his defence has been"completely blown apart" by Simon McDonald. "What happened to the complaint..

. and why was nothing done at the time?" Ms Rayner said. "A minister of state at the Foreign Office has a deeply sensitive role in terms of national security. Was this issue even raised..

. in the vetting process and was the prime minister informed?" 12:40:48 Paymaster General: 'It is important we do not pre-judge any individual case' Cabinet Office Minister Michael Ellis has stressed that procedures already exist to"uphold" standards in public life. In response to Labour's Angela Rayner, he said:"I know how difficult it is for victims to come forward. It is very important that we do not pre-judge any individual case. "It is also right that the system that.

.. this House created...

namely the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme is allowed to work its course." He added that"regimes" already exist, adding:"We do have a Parliament... that upholds standards to all those in public life.

" Mr Ellis said:"We all ultimately must choose for ourselves... how to act." 12:38:31 Urgent question asked Angela Rayner, the deputy leader of the Labour Party, has asked the government how they plan to"uphold" standards in public life.

Paymaster General Michael Ellis is responding on behalf of the government. 12:02:21 PM holds phone call with President Zelenskyy Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has tweeted to say he has just spoken with Boris Johnson on the phone. It comes following a tricky morning for the PM, following allegations from a former senior civil servant that Number 10 was not telling truth. Mr Zelenskyy posted:"Held talks with @BorisJohnson. Thanked for the unwavering support of [Ukraine] - the recent decision to provide £1 billion in security aid and today's - £100 million.

  "Talked about food security for the world and security guarantees for [Ukraine]. Grateful for [the UK's] willingness to host [the Ukraine Recovery Conference 2023]." 11:42:57 Conservative backbencher defends Chris Pincher Michael Fabricant, a backbench Conservative MP who represents the seat next to Chris Pincher's, has come to the defence of the former deputy chief whip. Speaking to BBC Radio 5Live, Mr Fabricant said Mr Pincher was a"victim in his own way" and that some MPs feel"very sorry" for him. Mr Pincher resigned from the government and had the Tory whip removed last week following claims he"drunkenly groped" two men.

Mr Fabricant added that Mr Pincher was"in contact with clinical psychiatrists", adding that drinking was not an excuse, but"an explanation". He added that"of course, we're all very sorry for people who've been affected by Chris's actions". 11:29:22 Tory staffers group to meet with chief whip A group of Conservative staffers who have previously called for reform in Parliament will meet with the chief whip, Chris Heaton-Harris, on Thursday. Conservative Staffers for Change, a cohort of workers who describe themselves as a group"making our thoughts known on the denigration of standards in Parliament", are also due to meet with the Speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, on Wednesday. These staffers are the people who work in the offices of MPs in Westminster and are appointed by the politicians.

In light of revelations about former deputy chief whip, Chris Pincher, who last week resigned from the government and had the whip suspended after inappropriate behaviour at the Carlton Club in central London, staffers are once again reflecting on their position in Westminster. The ongoing"pestminster" scandal has pushed questions about the culture of sexual impropriety in Parliament once again to the surface as several MPs in recent months have stepped down due to inappropriate sexual behaviour. In 2022 alone, Neil Parish stood down for watching pornography in the chamber, Imran Ahmad Khan was convicted of sexually assaulting a child, David Warburton was suspended after allegations of sexual harassment and an unnamed Tory MP was arrested on suspicion of rape. In May, the same group of staffers wrote to Boris Johnson, the Speaker and Oliver Dowden – the then Tory party chairman who later resigned after crushing by-election defeats for the Tories in Wakefield and Tiverton & Honiton – demanding"common-sense decency" from MPs and for Parliament to become a safer place to work. Due to your consent preferences, you’re not able to view this.

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