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An investigation will be carried out into allegations of groping made against the Prime Minister’s father “if that’s the appropriate course of action”, a minister has said.
Caroline Nokes, the chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, said the Prime Ministers’ father forcefully smacked her on the backside and said she had “a lovely seat” in 2003, shortly before he ran as a Conservative MP.
The incident happened at the Conservative party conference in Blackpool ahead of Mr Johnson running in the Teignbridge seat in Devon in 2005.
Mr Johnson declined to comment, saying he had “no recollection of Caroline Nokes at all”.
But it prompted Ailbhe Rea, a journalist for the New Statesman magazine, to accuse Mr Johnson of having “groped” her at the 2019 Tory conference.
“I’ve had male MPs stick their hands on my backside in Strangers’ Bar (in Parliament),” Ms Nokes said during a panel discussion with Sky News.
“And I can remember a really prominent man smacking me on the backside about as hard as he could and going, ‘Oh, Romsey, you’ve got a lovely seat’.
“Stanley Johnson did that to me ahead of the ‘05 election, so it was Blackpool… 2003/4.
“I didn’t do anything and I feel ashamed by that… now I probably would.”
Responding to the allegation on Twitter, Ms Rea said: “Stanley Johnson also groped me at a party at Conservative conference in 2019.
“I am grateful to Caroline Nokes for calling out something that none of us should have to put up with, not least from the Prime Minister’s father.”
Asked about the allegations, Home Office minister Damian Hinds told Times Radio: “I don’t know obviously about the ... 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.
“But I’m not joining a link between that and at this because we don’t know, but if there is an investigation to be had, then, of course, that will happen.”
He added: “If there is an investigation to be had, if that is the appropriate course of action, then of course that will happen.”
Mr Johnson lost the campaign to become an MP in 2005. He served as a Conservative member of the European Parliament between 1979 and 1984.
In recent years he has become known for his environmental campaigning and for appearing as a contestant on I’m a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! in 2017, finishing in seventh place.
Mr Johnson, now 81, did not immediately respond for comment.
He told Sky News: “I have no recollection of Caroline Nokes at all - but there you go. And no reply.”