UK government faces new boozy scandal as deputy whip quits

Jun 30, 2022, 2:40 PM | Updated: Jul 1, 2022, 11:00 am

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is dealing with another boozy scandal after the deputy chief whip resigned from his post and then was suspended by the Conservative Party over a drunken incident in which he reportedly groped two men at an event.

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 the 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 in his letter that he would remain as a Conservative lawmaker and continue to support Johnson from the back benches of Parliament. That prompted fury from the opposition and even among some Conservative Party lawmakers.

Johnson at first resisted calls to suspend Pincher from the party before bowing to the pressure by Friday evening after a formal complaint was made to an independent investigative body.

A Conservative Party spokeswoman said Johnson had agreed that Pincher should be suspended — meaning he can’t sit in Parliament among the Tory benches.

Pincher’s resignation as deputy chief whip added to the prime minister’s mounting troubles.

Johnson survived a no-confidence vote last month triggered by lawmakers from his own party, but emerged weakened since more than 40% of Conservatives voted against him.

Most of the discontent with Johnson’s leadership centered around investigations into boozy parties held in government buildings when coronavirus lockdowns prohibited group gatherings. A Conservative lawmaker also resigned for watching pornography on his phone in the House of Commons.

After returning from this week’s Group of Seven and NATO summits, Johnson was looking to put those embarrassments — and his party’s defeat in two special parliamentary elections — behind him.

Conservative Party chairman Oliver Dowden quit last week when the Tories lost two seats in byelections, saying the party “cannot carry on with business as usual.” But Johnson has remained defiant amid appeals for his own resignation and said he wouldn’t call an early election. The next general election must be called by 2024.

British tabloid The Sun reported that Pincher groped two men Wednesday night at a private members club. London’s Metropolitan Police force said it hadn’t yet received any reports of assault at the event.

It was the second time that Pincher, 52, 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 Prime Minister Theresa May brought him back into a government position in 2018 by making him 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 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.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - The headquarters of the German biotechnology company "BioNTech" is pictured in Mainz, German...
Associated Press

BioNTech reports strong first half, expects demand to grow

BERLIN (AP) — BioNTech, which teamed with Pfizer to develop the first widely used COVID-19 vaccine, has reported higher revenue and net profit in the first half of the year and expects demand to grow as it releases updated vaccines to target new omicron strains. The German pharmaceutical company said Monday that revenue hit about […]
1 day ago
Secretary of State Antony Blinken is greeted by South Africa's Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor as he...
Associated Press

US Secretary of State Blinken sees South African counterpart

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa’s stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine and the adverse effects of the conflict on African countries are expected to feature in a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and South Africa’s Minister of International Relations Naledi Pandor on Monday. Blinken is in South Africa as part of a […]
1 day ago
FILE - Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder arrives to attend the St. Petersburg Internationa...
Associated Press

Scholz party rejects bid to expel German ex-leader Schroeder

BERLIN (AP) — Local officials with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s party rejected a bid to expel former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder over his close ties to Russia, the news agency dpa reported Monday. An arbitration committee of the center-left Social Democrats’ branch in Hannover, where Schroeder lives, considered 17 applications from party members for proceedings against […]
1 day ago
In this aerial image, taken by a drone from the environmental group Sea Shepherd, shows a Beluga wh...
Associated Press

Efforts to feed Beluga whale in France’s Seine fail so far

PARIS (AP) — Efforts to feed a dangerously thin Beluga whale that has strayed into the Seine River in France have failed so far and experts are now trying to get the whale out of the river lock where it is stuck, environmentalists said Monday. The marine conservation group Sea Shepherd France tweeted Monday that […]
1 day ago
FILE - Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stands outside Maximos Mansion in Athens, May 6,...
Associated Press

Greek PM ‘unaware’ of prominent politician’s wiretap

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s prime minister said Monday he was unaware that the country’s intelligence service had been bugging an opposition politician’s mobile phone for three months, insisting that he wouldn’t have allowed it had he known. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who faces elections next year, made the remarks in a televised address to the nation […]
1 day ago
Mourners attend an annual procession commemorating Ashoura which marks the death anniversary of Ima...
Associated Press

Shiite Muslims in Mideast mark solemn holy day of Ashoura

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Millions of Shiite Muslims — from Iran to Afghanistan and Pakistan — were marking the festival of Ashoura on Monday, one of the most emotional occasions in their religious calendar, commemorating the 7th century martyrdom of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Hussein. Security forces, particularly in Taliban-run Afghanistan, were on high alert […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
...

Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]
...

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]
UK government faces new boozy scandal as deputy whip quits