“Boris Johnson has serious questions to answer about why Chris Pincher was given this role in the first place and how he can remain a Conservative MP.”
[The Tamworth constituency has swung between Labour and the Conservatives since the boundaries were redrawn in 1976.]
Emily Atkinson www.independent.co.uk
Chris Pincher, who was appointed to the role last February to strengthen party discipline, resigned following a drunken incident in which he said he “embarrassed myself and other people”.
He stood down after allegedly assaulting two fellow guests at the Carlton Club – a Tory Party private members’ club in London’s Piccadilly – on Wednesday evening, The Sun claimed.
The Metropolitan Police said it was not aware of any calls to that location last night. It also said there was no record on its systems of any related reports submitted today.
Reacting to Pincher’s resignation, Ms Rayner, the deputy Labour leader, said in a statement: “This latest episode shows how far standards in public life have been degraded on Boris Johnson’s watch.
“Boris Johnson has serious questions to answer about why Chris Pincher was given this role in the first place and how he can remain a Conservative MP.
“The Conservative party is so mired in sleaze and scandal that it is totally unable to tackle the challenges facing the British people.
“The Conservative MPs who continue to prop up this prime minister’s paralysed administration need to grow a backbone and tell him the party’s over.”
In his letter of resignation to the prime minister, Mr Pincher apologised to Mr Johnson, saying it had been “the honour of my life” to have served in the government.
The Tamworth MP 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.
“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 the second time he has quit the whip’s office, having resigned as a junior whip in November 2017 following a complaint that he made an unwanted pass at the former Olympic rower and Conservative candidate Alex Story.
Having referred himself to both the police and the Conservative Party complaints procedure, he was brought back by Theresa May as deputy chief whip in January 2018.
With additional reporting from the Press Association