Former Senior Official Says Downing Street "Not Telling The Truth" On Pincher Allegations
A former senior FCO official has said Boris Johnson was briefed in person on alleged wrongdoing by Tory MP Chris Pincher.
In a letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Lord McDonald has said Number 10 is "not telling the truth" about the situation.
Downing Street had initially claimed the PM was not aware of any "specific allegations" when he made Mr Pincher deputy chief whip.
However, the spokesperson later claimed that Boris Johnson was "aware of media reports that others had seen over the years, and some allegations that were either resolved or did not progress to a formal complaint.”
But McDonald writes: "The modification is still not accurate. Mr Johnson was briefed in person about the initiation and outcome of the investigation."
Sir Simon McDonald — a former British diplomat who served as the Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office from 2015-2020 — claims Johnson was briefed about Pincher in 2019 when he was foreign secretary.
“There was a ‘formal complaint’. Allegations were ‘resolved’ only in the sense that the investigation was completed; Mr Pincher was not exonerated. To characterise the allegations as “unsubstantiated” is therefore wrong," he continued.
Sir Simon added that Pincher had "deceived me and others in 2019" and that the former deputy chief whip "cannot be allowed to use the confidentiality of the process three years ago to pursue his predatory behaviour in other contexts".
The crossbench peer told BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Tuesday that he felt Downing Street needed to "come clean" about the PM's awareness of allegations relating to Pincher.
“I think that the language is ambiguous, the sort of telling the truth and crossing your fingers at the same time and hoping that people are not too forensic in their subsequent questioning and I think that is not working.”
It comes after a slew of new allegations of misconduct against Pincher over the weekend since his resignation from government and subsequent removal of the Conservative Party whip after his drunken actions at the private Carlton Club in London on Wednesday.
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe