UK government faces new boozy scandal as deputy whip quits
LONDON (AP) — Britain’s government is facing another boozy scandal after the deputy chief whip resigned from his post following a drunken incident this week, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson facing calls on Friday to expel him from the Conservative Party.
Chris Pincher, whose role was to maintain discipline among Tory members of Parliament, submitted a letter of resignation to Johnson on Thursday.
“I drank far too much” on Wednesday night, Pincher said in his letter. “I’ve embarrassed myself and other people which is the last thing I want to do and for that I apologize to you and to those concerned.”
But he said he would remain as a Conservative lawmaker and continue to support Johnson from the back benches of Parliament.
Pincher’s resignation as deputy chief whip added to Johnson’s woes, which have included other scandals like “ partygate ” and a Conservative lawmaker resigning over watching pornography on his phone in the House of Commons.
Johnson, who also recently survived a no-confidence vote, had just returned from the Group of Seven and NATO summits and was looking to put those embarrassments and two recent byelection defeats behind him.
British tabloid The Sun reported that Pincher groped two men Wednesday night at a private members club in London for the Conservative Party. It was the second time that Pincher quit a government whip job. In November 2017, he resigned as a junior whip after a complaint that he made an unwanted pass at former Olympic rower and Conservative candidate Alex Story.
But Pincher was eventually brought back into a government position by Prime Minister Theresa May in 2018 as deputy chief whip. When Johnson took over in July 2019, Pincher was moved to the Foreign Office as a junior minister before returning to the government whips office again.
Britain’s opposition Labour Party said that Johnson’s government had questions to answer about why Pincher was put into the position in the first place.
“This latest episode shows how far standards in public life have been degraded on Boris Johnson’s watch,” Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said. “The Conservative Party is so mired in sleaze and scandal that it is totally unable to tackle the challenges facing the British people.”
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