Mark Fletcher, the Tory MP for Bolsover who witnessed Chris Pincher’s actions at the Carlton Club last week, has resigned from his role as parliamentary private secretary to Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, describing Boris Johnson’s response to the incident as “crass and insensitive”.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Fletcher said: “As you are aware, early last Thursday morning I had to intervene in a very serious situation at the Carlton Club involving the former deputy chief whip.
Mark Fletcher UK Parliament
“I reported the events immediately to the Chief Whip, who took appropriate action and handled the situation with superb levels of seriousness and care. On Friday, upon my raising concerns around Mr Pincher still having the whip, you and I spoke about the events that had happened on Thursday morning.
“I was reassured that shortly after our call you did the right thing and suspended the whip for Mr Pincher. However, in our conversation in the tearoom yesterday, you suggested that the events of that night were the fault of the colleagues who were present for allowing him to drink so much.
“Such a view seems to me an attempt to absolve Mr Pincher of his actions and, in so doing, to be an apologist for someone who has committed sexual assault. I am unable to accept such a crass and insensitive interpretation of what happened that night.
“I have reached the conclusion that any person who suggests that anyone other than Mr Pincher is solely responsible for what happened that night is unfit to lead our country. To take any other position does a severe disservice to the victims of his behaviour, on both this and previous occasions. I am therefore writing to tender my resignation as the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for BEIS.
“It has been the greatest of honours to work alongside Kwasi Kwarteng and his exceptional team of ministers and special advisers. I am tremendously proud of how much we have achieved in the past two years and I thank you for the opportunity to do so. But I cannot continue to serve within your government and defend the indefensible.”