A Tory MP who allegedly asked an alleged victim of Chris Pincher if he was gay has been appointed as a minister in Boris Johnson’s caretaker cabinet.
Sarah Dines, who was appointed joint Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), reportedly told the accuser that her case was not ‘simple’ due to his sexuality.
The Sunday Times reported that Ms Dines – then deputy whip – witnessed the alleged assault at the exclusive Carlton club in London last week, after which she asked the accuser if he was gay.
The alleged victim told the newspaper: ‘I was a bit taken aback by that and said, ‘What does that have to do with it? But yes, I am.
“And her words were, ‘Well, that doesn’t make it easy’. She saw it all, which is why I’m so angry.
Ms Dines, the Derbyshire Dales MP, then allegedly escalated the matter by reporting the alleged incident to her superiors.
His reported comments were put to Mr Johnson as he was questioned by the Commons Liaison Committee earlier this week, with Labor MP Chris Bryant asking whether they amounted to ‘victim shaming’.
Mr Johnson said he had not spoken to Ms Dines about it but said: ‘I highly doubt Sarah meant it that way.
Mr Pincher resigned as Deputy Chief Whip last Thursday after he allegedly assaulted two other guests at the Carlton Club the night before.
He had the Tory whip suspended the following day after a formal complaint was lodged with Parliament’s watchdog which examines allegations of bullying, harassment or sexual misconduct, and is now the subject of a investigation.
Mr Pincher said over the weekend he was ‘truly sorry’ for the upset he had caused after he had ‘way too much to drink’ on Wednesday, and pledged to co-operate fully with the investigation, adding that he was looking for “professional medical support”.
Downing Street initially said Mr Johnson had no knowledge of the previous allegations against Mr Pincher, but the outgoing Prime Minister later admitted he had been made aware of inappropriate behavior dating back to 2019 and said that he regretted having kept him in government beyond that point.
The row over the Pincher scandal sparked a wave of pent-up frustration with Mr Johnson’s leadership, culminating in mass resignations and ultimately the downfall of the prime minister.
As well as Ms Dines’ new role, Downing Street announced six new appointments on Friday afternoon.
Richard Fuller has been appointed Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Stuart Andrew has been appointed Minister of State in the Department of Justice and Alan Mak is now Secretary of the Exchequer to the Treasury.
Rehman Chishti, Lia Nici and Brendan Clarke-Smith have been appointed Parliamentary Under Secretaries of State in the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Development, Housing and Communities and Department of Education respectively.
Ms. Dines was approached for comment.