Stanley Johnson could be fired from a prestigious role as an environmental ambassador over sexual assault allegations.
The powerful Conservative Environment Network, of which he is international ambassador, said: ‘The alleged behaviour is not acceptable.’
But as calls grew for an investigation, a supporter of the Prime Minister’s ‘charming’ father vowed it should not be a police matter if he was ‘a little over-friendly, indeed handsy’ with women.
Mr Johnson, 81, allegedly assaulted two women, the Conservative MP Caroline Nokes who said he had smacked her ‘on the backside about as hard as he could’ and political journalist Ailbhe Rea who said he ‘groped me’.
Stanley Johnson (left) with political journalist, Isabel Oakeshott (right) who tweeted: ‘The charming Stanley Johnson can be a little over-friendly – indeed handsy – but I don’t believe this is one for the police’
Political journalist Ailbhe Rea (pictured) claimed Mr Johnson, 81, ‘groped’ her
Yesterday in an excruciating exchange in the Commons, the Prime Minister found himself being grilled by MP Miss Nokes about government policy on sexual harassment.
She did not mention her own claims against his father, but asked Boris Johnson if women would have more confidence ‘if public sexual harassment was a specific crime’, and if early intervention might stop ‘those harassing women becoming sex offenders?’
Mr Johnson Snr ignored questions on the matter as he left his house in north west London yesterday. He had previously told Sky News: ‘I have no recollection of Caroline Nokes at all – but there you go.’
Labour has called for ‘criminal authorities’ to investigate the claims, which emerged on Monday when Miss Nokes named Stanley Johnson during a panel discussion on Sky News among four female MPs about abuse of women.
She said that during the Conservative Party conference in 2003, when she had been the Tories’ candidate for Romsey, Mr Johnson Snr had slapped her bottom and proclaimed: ‘Oh, Romsey, you’ve got a lovely seat.’
After the allegation was broadcast, political journalist Miss Rea, who writes for the New Statesman magazine, tweeted: ‘Stanley Johnson also groped me at a party at Conservative conference in 2019.’
Yesterday another political journalist, Isabel Oakeshott, tweeted a photo of herself with the PM’s father but wrote: ‘The charming Stanley Johnson can be a little over-friendly – indeed handsy – but I don’t believe this is one for the police. Officers should focus their limited resources on investigating real crimes.’
She was deluged with replies from Twitter users accusing her of ‘excusing’ sexual assault. One said: ‘I don’t think “Handsy Stanley” is the defence you think it is.’
Sky News political correspondent Kate McCann tweeted: ‘You might be OK with someone being handsy but other women would find that uncomfortable… Your tweet suggests… it’s their problem if they’re offended, not his for being “over-friendly”.’
Britain’s Minister of State for Immigration Caroline Nokes (pictured) claimed Mr Johnson had smacked her ‘on the backside about as hard as he could’
Lifelong conservationist Mr Johnson Snr was made international ambassador at the think-tank the Conservative Environment Network in February, but the organisation has now distanced itself from him, saying: ‘We take all allegations of inappropriate behaviour very seriously.
‘We have clear internal processes for managing allegations of this nature. The alleged behaviour is not acceptable to CEN.’
The chairman of CEN is Ben Goldsmith, a family friend of the Prime Minister’s wife Carrie.
Yesterday the PM was grilled about sexual harassment when he appeared before Parliament’s liaison committee of senior MPs. They included Miss Nokes in her capacity as chairman of the women and equalities committee.
Miss Nokes – two days after accusing his father of smacking her bottom – put it to the Prime Minister: ‘Isn’t it fair to say that if public sexual harassment was a specific crime, you might see women with more confidence to come forward?’
Mr Johnson replied: ‘All women should have confidence to come forward… and there are proper procedures for those claims and complaints to be investigated.’
The MP asked: ‘Should we not intervene earlier, before those harassing women become sex offenders?’
The PM said: ‘We need to prosecute people more effectively for things that are already criminal.’
Earlier Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the International Trade Secretary, said if Mr Johnson Snr had touched her inappropriately, ‘I’d have probably slapped him’. She told Sky News: ‘This is something women have, for far too long, had to tolerate – the casual sexism, the wandering hand.’