UK

Tory MP who questioned alleged Chris Pincher victim if he was gay made minister

Josh Milton July 9, 2022
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Sarah Dines walked towards Downing Street

Sarah Dines, a former assistant whip, has been tapped as parliamentary under-secretary of state jointly for the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office. (Wiktor Szymanowicz/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

The British Conservative Party MP who reportedly asked an alleged victim of Chris Pincher if he was gay has been made a minister.

Warning – sexual assault allegations.

Downing Street has announced a wave of new appointments to government as Boris Johnson clinches to power as caretaker prime minister.

Among the fresh faces is Sarah Dines, a former assistant whip who has been tapped as parliamentary under-secretary of state jointly for the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office.

It’s a role she said she is “honoured” to do. “I look forward to working in two crucial departments delivering on our manifesto commitments,” she said on Twitter Friday (8 July).

Justice secretary Dominic Raab announced Dines’ new role on Twitter, saying: “Delighted to have @Dines4Dales join the team as a joint @MoJGovUK and @UKHomeOffice parliamentary under secretary of state.

“I look forward to working with you to protect victims of crime and deliver swifter justice for the public.”

But the MP for Derbyshire Dales is alleged to have told the man who accused Pincher, a former deputy chief whip, of groping him that his case was not “straightforward” because of his sexuality.

The Sunday Times reported allegations that Dines witnessed the alleged assault that took place at the private members club Carlton Club in London on 29 June. It was a drunken night where Pincher was accused of groping two men.

On Dines’ response to the incident, the alleged victim said: “I was a bit taken aback by that and said: ‘What’s that got to do with it?’ But yes, I am.”

“And her words were: ‘Well, that doesn’t make it straightforward’. She saw everything, which is why I am so angry.”

Dines flagged the incident to the Chief Whip.

In a statement to PinkNews, Dines said: “I am honoured to be joining the Ministry of Justice and the Home Office departments as Parliamentary under Secretary of State. I look forward to working in two crucial departments delivering on our manifesto commitments.”

Boris Johnson insists Sarah Dines remarks about Chris Pincher victim weren’t intentional 

A Labour MP said Dines’ alleged remarks amounted to “victim-shaming” as Johnson was grilled by the Liaison Committee, made up of select committee chairs, on Wednesday.

Chris Bryant, the chair of the Commons Select Committee of Privileges which scrutinies the legal immunity of MPs in Parliament, said: “Do you not understand why this is problematic?

“Because it means that being gay for some reason or other makes you sort of asking for it?”

Johnson replied: “I very much doubt that Sarah meant to put it that way.”

Italian Minister of European Affairs Vincenzo (Enzo) Amendola (L) is talking with then British Minister of State for Europe and the Americas Christopher John Pincher
Chris Pincher (R), the former deputy whip, resigned amid allegations he groped two men at a private member’s club. (Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)

Pincher, who remains MP of Tamworth, was made a junior minister in 2019 before being appointed deputy whip in February by Johnson.

Yet Johnson promoted Pincher to the role despite being aware of a 2019 investigation into accusations of inappropriate behaviour against Pincher.

Pincher had resigned as an assistant whip in 2017 having been accused of sexual misconduct by Tory activist Alex Story.

But he stepped down once again as deputy whip following the 29 June allegations. He said he “drank too much” and “embarrassed” himself at the Conservative Friends of Cyprus event, he wrote in his resignation letter.

Downing Street insisted for days Johnson did not know of any previous accusations against Pincher. But when it emerged he knew of the 2019 complaint, it led to a wave of resignations in all ranks of the government and the breakdown of Johnson’s premiership.

More: Chris Pincher

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