Downing Street has confirmed that Boris Johnson WAS aware of concerns about Chris Pincher at the time of his deputy chief whip appointment.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said the while he knew of claims which had been either been resolved or had not resulted in a formal complaint, it was not considered appropriate to block his appointment.
Mr Pincher plunged the Government into a new crisis when he dramatically quit last week over allegations he groped two men at a Conservative private members’ club.
He had previously resigned from the whips office in 2017 over claims he made unwanted advances to a young activist, but was later reinstated after being cleared by an internal Conservative Party investigation.
Over the weekend, however, details emerged in the press of further claims about alleged sexual advances to men – including two fellow Conservative MPs – over a period of years.
Mr Pincher has denied the allegations to the newspapers which carried them.
However, Mr Johnson’s spokesman said the Prime Minister had been aware of the “speculation” there had been about Mr Pincher over a number of years when he made him deputy chief whip last February.
Carrie Johnson is said to have openly questioned Chris Pincher’s suitability as a Government whip back five years ago.
The then-communications director of the Conservative Party was said to have sent messages asking how the MP ended up in the whips’ office.
The exchanges, Sky News say they have seen, came after he resigned as a whip in 2017 following claims of unwanted sexual advances to a Tory candidate.
Radio 4 host Nick Robinson interrogated Will Quince on the subject during his show.
He said: “Professional organisations have a choice about who they appoint.
“It is completely different to decide whether to sack someone on the basis of a rumour, you are choosing to appoint someone.
“I put it to you that the dogs on the street in Westminster knew what Chris Pincher’s behaviour was like, particularly after he’d had a few drinks.
“I note that, when I asked you if you’d heard those rumours, you didn’t say no.”
Mr Quince replied: “There are lots of rumours and gossip around Westminster.
“If I had a pound for every rumour that I’d heard about another MP, then I’d be a very wealthy man.
“The reality is, there are 650 MPs and the vast majority go into work every single day with the aim of improving the lives of their constituents and people up and down this country.
“Of course, instances and allegations of this nature, it is important that due process is followed, but they do a huge disservice to the whole of Parliament and the institutions because it erodes trust and confidence.”