A Conservative whip has been criticised by her own MPs for questioning the sexuality of an alleged victim of Chris Pincher after a reported incident last week.
Sarah Dines, an assistant government whip, was present at the Carlton Club last Wednesday where Mr Pincher has been accused of drunkenly groping two men.
Ms Dines, the MP for Derbyshire Dales, was approached by one of the individuals so he could report what he claimed had been inappropriate behaviour by the former deputy chief whip.
The alleged victim said he felt even worse after she proceeded to ask whether or not he was gay, and reportedly added “that doesn’t make it straightforward”.
‘She saw everything’
“I was a bit taken aback by that and said ‘what’s that got to do with it?’ But yes, I am,” the man told The Sunday Times. “She saw everything, which is why I am so angry.”
One Conservative MP branded the comments “pretty horrendous”, telling The Telegraph: “If it wasn’t a man attacking another man, it would never have been said.”
A second, senior Tory added: “Sexual assault is unauthorised and unwanted touching - it doesn’t matter matter whether you are heterosexual or homosexual.”
The senior Tory added that any alleged victim should have the “right to object” and the accusations, if proven, would be unacceptable regardless of the sex of those involved.
A source close to Ms Dines clarified that she had asked the man a series of questions so she could better understand the situation and its context.
Ms Dines escalated the matter the next day
They said it would not be appropriate to comment on individual conversations, but she took the matter extremely seriously and tried to establish if Mr Pincher knew the man already.
The source also confirmed Ms Dines was among the numerous Conservative MPs who escalated the matter the next day by reporting him to the Chief Whip.
Mr Pincher resigned from the Whips’ Office over the allegations on Thursday. He has been stripped of the Conservative whip pending an investigation into his conduct after a complaint was made to the parliamentary authorities.
At the weekend, he said in a statement that he respected Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend him and pledged to “cooperate fully” with the inquiry.
“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,” he wrote.