Derbyshire MP breaks silence on incident that led to PM Boris Johnson's resignation

Derbyshire Dales MP Sarah Dines has broken her silence on the incident of alleged sexual assault involving a colleague which ultimately led to the resignation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

By Ed Dingwall
Wednesday, 27th July 2022, 3:53 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th July 2022, 8:20 am

Ms Dines was present at a private members’ club in London last month on the night when fellow Conservative MP and Deputy Chief Whip Chris Pincher is alleged to have groped two men.

That led to media revelations and questions about his appointment by Mr Johnson, but also reports that Ms Dines had acted inappropriately in questioning one of the alleged victims about his sexuality.

In a letter to the Matlock Mercury this week, she has now sought to publicly clarify her side of the story, writing: “I have hitherto been unable to respond to press reporting of events at the Carlton Club on the evening of 29-30 June as it was my understanding that a criminal or other investigation into alleged sexual misconduct may have been pending, and any observations I may make could prejudice any such investigation.

Derbyshire Dales MP Sarah Dines.

Parliament is now in recess and I have not been made aware of any investigation and I feel that I can now comment on the event.

“The characterisation of events as depicted by sections of the press was inaccurate and prejudicial. The conversation I had with the subject of sexual harassment on the night was aimed at securing the full facts of what had transpired and was part of a much wider discussion which led to immediate action following the events that evening.”

She added: “I was surprised and saddened at the suggestion that I am in anyway homophobic or prejudiced. This is simply untrue.

“I took action immediately on the basis of what I had seen, something which has been clearly acknowledged by others present that evening.”

The new parliamentary under-secretary of state for the Home Office and Ministry of Justice.

Following the unprecedented wave of cabinet resignations which forced Mr Johnson’s decision to step down, Ms Dines was elevated to a junior ministerial post linked to the Home Office and Ministry of Justice.

Although Parliament is now on its summer break and awaiting a new government, Ms Dines says she is wasting no time in her new role.

She wrote: “I signed my first statutory instrument as a justice minister on 15 July, enabling the measures in our Criminal Justice Act (2022) and Judicial Review and Courts Act (2022) designed to provide judges more flexibility in the outcome of judicial reviews and minimising delays in immigration, asylum and other cases that have already been refused permission to appeal.”

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