Weston MP says Number 10 has 'not been honest' over Pincher scandal

John Penrose, left, and Boris Johnson

John Penrose, left, and Boris Johnson - Credit: Parliament TV

Weston MP John Penrose - who himself resigned as Boris Johnson's 'anti-corruption tsar' in the wake of Partygate - has told the House of Commons that Number 10 has 'not been honest' during the Chris Pincher scandal.

Mr Pincher, MP for Tamworth, was suspended as a Tory MP last week amid allegations of sexual misconduct. It is claimed he 'groped' two people at an exclusive Conservative club after drinking too much.

Mr Penrose, who stood down at the beginning of June ahead of a confidence vote in the Prime Minister, asked a question in the Commons on Tuesday (July 5), which was addressed by Paymaster General, Michael Ellis.

In it, the Weston Conservative MP referenced the Nolan Principles of Public Life, which act as a guide for the behaviour of public figures, such as MPs, and are at the heart of the Ministerial Code of Conduct.

His question came after a letter from former Foreign Office civil servant Lord McDonald accused Downing Street of releasing information that was 'not true' over the Prime Minister's knowledge of previous allegations and investigations into Mr Pincher.

Mr Penrose said: "The seven Nolan Principles of Integrity in Public Life run, underpin, all the way through the Ministerial Code.

"It is clear, from Lord McDonald's letter today that Number 10 have not been honest in what they said. That is what Lord McDonald says, in terms. 

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"One of the seven Nolan Principles is honesty. 

"Number 10 was previously accused, without rebuttle, of lacking leadership by Sue Gray in her report over what went on over Partygate.

"How many more of the seven principles are they going to have to breach before my Honourable Friend will stand up and say 'enough is enough'?"

The question provoked loud cheers from the Opposition benches, but Mr Ellis said he did not agree with the premise of the question.

Earlier in the day, when Lord McDonald's letter was made public, Mr Penrose tweeted his dismay at what it claimed.

"This is dynamite," he said. "Honesty is 1 of 7 Nolan Principles of integrity in public life & at the core of the Ministerial Code so a) #10 not telling the truth is another serious breach & b) the PM's promised reset has no credibility because their behaviour hasn;t changed at all."

Former minister Mr Penrose has been a long-standing critic of the Prime Minister, having lead the 2019 leadership campaign of Jeremy Hunt when Boris Johnson took the helm of the Conservative Party.

His criticism came just hours before the shock resignations of Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Chancellor Rishi Sunak which rocked Number 10 and threatened to bring Boris Johnson's reign as PM down.

A flurry of other resignations from Government followed, with the Prime Minister facing a revolt within his own party.

Weston MP John Penrose in Parliament on Tuesday

Weston MP John Penrose in Parliament on Tuesday - Credit: Parliament TV