A senior Conservative MP has accused Boris Johnson’s father Stanley Johnson of touching her inappropriately at a Tory party event in 2003.
Caroline Nokes, who chairs the women and equalities select committee, said the incident occurred at the Conservative party conference in 2003 – when she was the prospective parliamentary candidate for Romsey and Southampton North, a seat she has held since 2010.
Johnson – now 81 – was also a prospective parliamentary candidate at the time; Nokes recalled a man “smacking me on the backside about as hard as he could”.
She told Sky News: “I can remember a really prominent man — at the time the Conservative candidate for Teignbridge in Devon — smacking me on the backside about as hard as he could and going, ‘oh, Romsey, you’ve got a lovely seat’.”
‘Be the noisy woman’
Nokes expressed regret that she did not “call out” the incident at the time. “I would have been in my early 30s, so old enough, old enough to call it out,” she said.
“I now regard it as a duty, an absolute duty, to call out wherever you see it. Be the noisy, aggravating, aggressive woman in the room because if I’m not prepared to do that, then my daughter won’t be prepared to do that… you do get to a point where you go ‘up with this, I will not put’.”
Approached by Sky News for comment, Johnson said he had “no recollection of Caroline Nokes at all — but there you go”.
He added: “And no reply… Hey ho, good luck and thanks.”
Following the revelation, New statesman journalist Ailbhe Rea tweeted to say she had also been groped by the prime minister’s father at Conservative party conference in 2019.
“Stanley Johnson also groped me at a party at Conservative conference in 2019,” she said.
“I am grateful to Caroline Nokes for calling out something that none of us should have to put up with, not least from the prime minister’s father.”
Nokes made the remarks during a panel event hosted by Sky hosted by prominent politicians including Labour MPs Jess Phillips and Rosena Allin-Khan, and Conservative MP Fay Jones.
The MPs were discussing how to tackle violence against women in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard in March.
Damian Hinds, a Home Office minister, later said an investigation would be carried out into allegations against the prime minister’s father “if that’s the appropriate course of action”.
Hinds told Times Radio: “I can say that, overall, in terms of the safety of women and girls, and being free from harassment wherever they are at home, at work, in the street, and online, this is an absolute top priority for the government.
“But I’m not joining a link between that and at this because we don’t know, but if there is an investigation to be had, then, of course, that will happen.
“If there is an investigation to be had, if that is the appropriate course of action, then of course that will happen.”