The Tory under investigation for allegedly groping two men said he is seeking “professional medical support” and hopes to return to his duties as an MP “as soon as possible”.
Chris Pincher said on Saturday he is “truly sorry” and vowed to fully co-operate with the inquiry into his drunken alleged behaviour at a private members’ club in London.
The MP for Tamworth in Staffordshire resigned from his Government role after the allegations emerged, and Boris Johnson bowed to pressure to remove the Conservative whip.
Now sitting as an independent, Mr Pincher is battling to remain in the House of Commons despite opponents saying his position is untenable.
In a statement, he said: “I respect the Prime Minister’s decision to suspend the whip whilst an inquiry is underway, and I will co-operate fully with it.
“As I told the Prime Minister, I drank far too much on Wednesday night, embarrassing myself and others, and I am truly sorry for the upset I caused.
“The stresses of the last few days, coming on top of those over the last several months, have made me accept that I will benefit from professional medical support.
“I am in the process of seeking that now, and I hope to be able to return to my constituency duties as soon as possible.”
Critics in Westminster are unlikely to be calmed by the statement from the man who resigned as deputy chief whip when reports of his latest behaviour first emerged.
Neil Parish, the former Conservative MP pressured to resign from the Commons after watching porn in Parliament, has accused No 10 of “double standards”.
Tory backbencher Andrew Bridgen echoed the sentiment, suggesting Mr Pincher was being treated differently because he is an “arch-loyalist” to the Prime Minister.
Caroline Nokes and Karen Bradley, two Tories who chair Commons select committees, called for Mr Johnson to implement a “zero-tolerance” policy over sexual misconduct claims.
Mr Johnson was facing questions over the delay in suspending the whip and why he appointed the MP to the key role despite past allegations.
Mr Bridgen said claims about Mr Pincher had been “swirling around Westminster for years” and suggested Downing Street would surely have been aware of them.
Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s chief aide turned critic-in-chief, accused the Prime Minister of “lying again” about his knowledge of Mr Pincher’s behaviour before giving him the whips job.
Mr Cummings said Mr Johnson referred to the MP “laughingly in No 10 as ‘Pincher by name, pincher by nature’ long before appointing him”.
The Prime Minister had been resisting calls to act until the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) launched an investigation after receiving a formal complaint.
Published: by Radio NewsHub Source : Radio News Hub