The UK government is reeling from the sexual harassment scandal at the hands of a senior Tory party leader.
A government spokesman has now admitted that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was informed in 2019 about allegations against his Conservative party colleague Chris Pincher.
So far, it has been said that Johnson was not aware of any specific allegations.
Previously, ex-Secretary of State Simon McDonald wrote in an unprecedented letter to the Commissioner for Compliance with Parliamentary Standards that Johnson had been personally informed of allegations of harassment against the former European Secretary of State.
Pincher was only used as a vice-whip in February
Pincher had already held several government and party offices and was appointed Vice-Whip by Johnson in February.
The Whip's job is to enforce faction discipline.
Pincher resigned last week after media reports he groped two men while they were drunk.
In the meantime, his membership in the parliamentary group has also been suspended.
Since then, other allegations have surfaced.
Pincher had announced that he would seek medical help.
Then he wants to return to Parliament.
Johnson's spokesman has now made a U-turn.
It has now emerged that the prime minister had been informed of earlier allegations against Pincher, he said.
Johnson was initially unable to remember this, said Secretary of State Michael Ellis, who is responsible for the cabinet, later in the House of Commons.
Several Tory MPs have strongly criticized the government's handling of the case.
Ex-Secretary of State McDonald defended his actions.
He told the BBC his letter was unusual for a retired civil servant.
But he emphasized: “I did this of my own accord because I knew that what I had seen and read over the past few days was wrong.”
Johnson is already heavily criticized for illegal parties at his official residence during the corona lockdown.
He barely survived a vote of no confidence in his own parliamentary group.
Most recently, he changed the code of conduct so that members of the government do not have to resign immediately if they violate it.
According to commentators, the fact that the scandals persist could lead to a growing number of internal party critics of Johnson.