British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under mounting pressure as Tory MP Chris Pincher faces new allegations of sexual misconduct, which the PM is said to be aware of, despite him feigning ignorance.
Former Permanent Under-Secretary to the Foreign Office Simon McDonald has accused PM’s office of lying over whether the British leader knew about earlier complaints of sexual misconduct made against Pincher, who resigned over his behavior last week.
“No. 10 keep changing their story and are still not telling the truth,” Simon said on Twitter on Tuesday, bringing the PM under fresh fire.
McDonald said there was a probe into Pincher’s issue in 2019 and that Johnson was "briefed in person about the initiation and outcome of the investigation.”
The troubles mounted for the embattled British PM after Pincher was forced to resign as Deputy Chief Whip last week over sexual misconduct.
Pincher was at pains to say that he had drunk too much, embarrassed himself, and “caused upset” to people after British media reported that he had sexually assaulted two male guests at a London club.
British media has since reported that he faced several previous allegations of sexual misconduct.
Last week, Johnson's office announced that the British PM was unaware of any specific complaints against Pincher before appointing him, although on Monday it said he was aware of “some allegations that were either resolved or did not progress to a formal complaint.”
“In the absence of a formal complaint it was not appropriate to stop an appointment on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations,” Johnson’s spokesman said on Monday.
McDonald hit back saying that Johnson’s office was lying and making “inaccurate claims”.
In a letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, McDonald said that shortly after Pincher’s appointment at the Foreign Office, “a group of officials complained to me about Mr. Pincher's behavior ... An investigation upheld the complaint; Mr. Pincher apologized and promised not to repeat the inappropriate behavior.”
He also claimed that Johnson was informed about the outcome of the probe but Pincher was not exonerated.
“To characterize the allegations as ‘unsubstantiated’ is, therefore, wrong,” He added.
Posting his letter on Twitter, McDonald said that Pincher "deceived" him and others in 2019.
"He cannot be allowed to use the confidentiality of the process three years ago to pursue his predatory behavior in other contexts.”
Troubles and scandals involving the British government and its leader are not ceasing. A fresh grilling over the new allegation against the PM is the last thing the UK government is asking for, believe observers.