Boris Johnson was ‘aware’ of allegations against Chris Pincher when he was appointed as deputy chief whip.
Mr Pincher resigned on Thursday after reportedly ‘admitting to drunkenly assaulting two men’.
He quit in a letter to Mr Johnson, admitting he ‘embarrassed’ himself while intoxicated the night before.
Yesterday, cabinet minister Therese Coffey had told Sky News she didn’t believe the Prime Minister had been ‘aware’ of the incidents prior to the letter.
But a No 10 spokesperson has today said the Tory leader was ‘aware’ but it would have been ‘not appropriate’ for him to step in.
They said: ‘I can’t get into too much detail but he did take advice on some of the allegations that had been made, but there was no formal complaint at that time and it was deemed not appropriate to stop an appointment simply because of unsubstantiated allegations.’
Mr Johnson had faced mounting pressure to confirm whether he knew about Mr Pincher’s past.
Labour chairwoman Anneliese Dodds had written a specific letter seeking details on what No 10 knew of the claims.
‘Only Boris Johnson could have looked at this guy’s record and thought, “He deserves a promotion”, she had said.
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner also criticised the Prime Minister’s handling of the latest claims.
She had said: ‘Boris Johnson has been dragged kicking and screaming into taking any action at all. He just can’t be trusted to do the right thing.
‘This whole scandal is yet more evidence of his appalling judgment.’
The Downing St spokesperson today declined to discuss allegations levelled at the Prime Minister by Dominic Cummings.
The former No 10 adviser had claimed Mr Johnson had referred to the former deputy chief whip as ‘Pincher by name, pincher by nature’ long before appointing him in February.
‘I’ve seen those unsubstantiated source quotes and I don’t intend to respond to them,’ the spokesperson responded.
‘I’m simply not going to comment on content of what was or wasn’t said in private conversations.’
Mr Pincher now faces further six claims of inappropriate behaviour, which stretch back over several years, of which he has denied.
He has been suspended as a Conservative MP and sits as an independent for Tamworth.
In a letter to the prime minister on Thursday, Mr Pincher had wrote: ‘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.’
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