Labour calls for probe as Boris Johnson’s father accused of groping two women including Tory MP

Caroline Nokes claims 81-year-old smacked her ‘on the backside about as hard as he could’ in 2003

Zoe Tidman
Tuesday 16 November 2021 21:14
Stanley Johnson denies accusations of inappropriately touching Tory MP

Labour has urged the Tories to launch an investigation after a senior Conservative MP and a journalist accused Boris Johnson’s father, Stanley, of inappropriately touching them.

Caroline Nokes, who is the chair of the parliamentary women and equalities committee, said he forcefully smacked her on the backside at the Conservative Party conference in 2003.

Her allegation prompted political journalist Ailbhe Rea to say she was “groped” by the former MEP at the party conference in 2019.

She tweeted that she was “grateful” to the MP for “calling out something that none of us should have to put up with, not least from the prime minister’s father”.

Ms Nokes made her allegation during a Sky News cross-party discussion with other female MPs about how to confront violence against women.

She said the alleged incident happened in Blackpool while she was a prospective candidate for the Romsey and Southampton North seat – which she later won in 2010.

“I can remember a really prominent man – at the time the Conservative candidate for Teignbridge in Devon – smacking me on the backside about as hard as he could and going, ‘oh, Romsey, you’ve got a lovely seat’,” she said.

When asked who that was, she said: “Stanley Johnson did that to me, ahead of the ’05 election.”

Ms Nokes added: “I didn’t do anything and I feel ashamed by that... now I probably would.”

Mr Johnson declined to comment to Sky News, other than to say he has “no recollection of Caroline Nokes at all”.

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds urged the Tories to launch an investigation.

“The Conservative Party clearly needs to investigate a serious allegation like that, that happened at their party conference,” he told Times Radio.

“Whether it is a very senior member of parliament, whether it is anybody who attended that party conference, whoever the victim is, it is for us to listen to the victim, to treat their allegation extremely seriously and sensitively.”

The MPs – Ms Nokes, Jess Phillips, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan and Fay Jones – also shared their experiences of harassment and assault during the Sky News event on Monday evening.

Labour’s Ms Phillips, who is the shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding, said she was once assaulted by a former boss at a party.

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, the shadow minister for mental health, said she experienced harassment from a senior medic while she was a junior doctor.

Tory MP Fay Jones told Sky News she was flashed by a man while a teenager, and colleague Ms Nokes said she was also groped by a group of men while she was 11.

On Tuesday, Ms Nokes tweeted: “Just wanted to thank the sisterhood for the solidarity and support today. You know who you are and you’re amazing.”

Asked about the allegations involving Mr Johnson on Tuesday, Home Office minister Damian Hinds said: “I’ve heard this morning, as you have, or overnight, about this, about these allegations.

“I can say that, overall, in terms of the safety of women and girls, and being free from harassment wherever they are at home, at work, in the street, and online, this is an absolute top priority for the government.”

He told Times Radio: “But I’m not joining a link between that and this because we don’t know, but if there is an investigation to be had, then, of course, that will happen.”

Additional reporting by Press Association

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