Who is Christopher Pincher? Ex-Tory whip resigns after losing suspension appeal

Chris Pincher says he is quitting the Commons  (Parliament / PA Media)
Chris Pincher says he is quitting the Commons (Parliament / PA Media)

Chris Pincher, the former Tory deputy chief whip, has resigned after losing an appeal against his eight-week suspension.

His resignation came after allegations were made that he drunkenly groped two men at the Carlton Club in central London last year.

In its reports, the Standards Committee stated that the MP’s actions last summer were “profoundly damaging” and “especially grave” because they amounted to a misuse of authority.

Pincher didn’t appeal the findings but contested the suspension from Parliament. He discovered this week that he had lost his appeal.

Pincher previously apologised and said that he is “truly sorry” for his conduct and is seeking “professional medical support” following allegations he groped two men at a private members’ club in London.

Following the claims, Mr Pincher resigned from his position as deputy whip before then having the whip removed. He was sitting as an independent MP before announcing his resignation.

His resignation will now trigger a byelection in his constituency of Tamworth, in Staffordshire.

Who is Christopher Pincher?

Christopher Pincher resigned from the Government on Thursday (Getty Images)
Christopher Pincher resigned from the Government on Thursday (Getty Images)

Christopher Pincher was appointed Treasurer of HM Household (Deputy Chief Whip) of the Conservative Party on February 8, 2022.

The Sun reported that he stood down after assaulting two fellow guests at the Carlton Club — a Tory Party private members’ club in London’s Piccadilly.

He was previously made Minister of State at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities on September 19, 2021 — and was first elected Conservative MP for Tamworth in May 2010.

He had previously held the post of Minister of State at the Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government from February 2020 to September 2021, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from July 2019 to February 2020, and Deputy Chief Whip, Treasurer of HM Household from January 2018 to July 2019.

From June 2017 to November 2017, he was Comptroller of HM Household (Government Whip) as well as an Assistant Government Whip from July 2016 until June 2017.

At the time of his resignation on September 7, 2023, Pincher was serving as an independent MP for Tamworth.

What did the report reveal?

According to a government servant who participated in the investigation as a witness, Pincher touched his bottom before briefly squeezing his testicles.

He revealed: “The incident with Mr Pincher has significantly impacted me. I have become increasingly anxious as a result of the incident, and I am now taking medication to manage my anxiety.

“I am also fearful about whether this incident will impact my job and future career plans. After the incident, I stopped exercising, which has resulted in my gaining a lot of weight.”

In spite of his denial of breaking the code of conduct, Pincher informed the investigators that he was “very sorry” for his behaviour, which he cannot remember.

Another complainant, who was a House of Lords staffer at the time, told the investigators that Pincher grasped his forearm in the private members’ club’s bar “for longer than necessary” on June 30, 2017, at about midnight.

He claimed the MP then “stroked the back of my neck”, with the report stating he then “squeezed the complainant’s bottom”.

The complainant added, “I was so shocked at what had just happened.

“I found the incidents with Mr Pincher to be traumatic and the incidents continue to significantly affect my sleep whenever I have to recount Mr Pincher’s behaviour.”

Why did Chris Pincher resign?

Pincher was already planning to step down at the next election. However his departure from the House of Commons was brought forward after he lost the appeal against his suspension.

Confirming his resignation from the House of Commons today, Pincher explained: “I have said already that I will not stand at the next general election.

“However, following the Independent Expert Panel’s decision, I wanted to talk to my office team and family.

“I do not want my constituents to be put to further uncertainty and so, in consequence, I have made arrangements to resign and leave the Commons.

“Tamworth is a wonderful place and it has been an honour to represent its people.

“I shall make no further comment at this time.”

Pincher had previously resigned as deputy chief whip from Boris Johnson’s government when the allegations emerged. At the time, he also 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.”