The government’s deputy chief whip has resigned this evening over an allegation of drunken “groping”, it’s understood.
Chris Pincher confirmed his resignation in a letter to Boris Johnson, who has been speaking at the Nato summit in Madrid, after “drinking too much” and “embarrassing himself and others”.
He reportedly stood down after assaulting two fellow guests at the Carlton Club – a Tory Party private members’ club in London’s Piccadilly – on Wednesday evening.
Tory MPs who witnessed the incident contacted the whip’s office to demand Mr Pincher’s resignation, the Sun reports.
In his letter dated today Mr Pincher, who was responsible for maintaining discipline among Tory MPs, said: “Last night I drank far too much.
“I’ve embarrassed myself and other people which is the last thing I want to do and for that I apologise to you and to those concerned.
“I think the right thing to do in the circumstances is for me to resign as Deputy Chief Whip. I owe it to you and the people I’ve caused upset to, to do this.”
He added: “I want to assure you that you will continue to have my full support from the back benches, and I wish you all the best as you deal with aftershocks of Covid and the challenges of international inflation.
“It has been the honour of my life to have served in Her Majesty’s Government.”
It is understood that Mr Pincher has not lost the whip, which means he can continue to sit as a Conservative MP.
Party chiefs appear to have taken this view as he has admitted wrongdoing – but this decision is likely to anger some of his fellow Tories.
The latest row comes after Tory MP Neil Parish resigned for watching porn in the Commons – triggering a by-election where the Liberal Democrats snatched his Tiverton and Honiton seat.
Mr Pincher was first elected Conservative MP for Tamworth in May 2010 and was re-elected in December 2019 with a majority of 19,364.
He also served as a minister under former PM Theresa May.
In January 2020, he was appointed as minister of state for housing.
On February 8 this year, during the mini-reshuffle, Mr Pincher was moved back to his role as Deputy Chief Whip, a position he was first appointed to in January 2018.