Downing Street refuses to comment on MP’s accusation against PM’s father

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Downing Street has refused to comment on an accusation of inappropriate touching made against Stanley Johnson.

Caroline Nokes, a former minister and chair of the Women and Equalities Select Committee, said the incident involving the prime minister's father took place at the Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool in 2003, when she was in her early 30s.

Ms Nokes, who has represented Romsey and Southampton North since 2010, was at the time the prospective parliamentary candidate for the constituency ahead of the 2005 general election.

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MP's touching claim against Stanley Johnson

The candidate was Stanley Johnson, who later failed to get elected.

Sky News approached Stanley Johnson for comment in relation to the allegation.

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He said: "I have no recollection of Caroline Nokes at all – but there you go. And no reply… Hey ho, good luck and thanks."

The comments were made in the course of a cross-party panel discussion, hosted by Sky News, between four prominent female MPs about how to confront violence against women in the wake of the murder of Sarah Everard.

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Asked about the allegation at a regular briefing with journalists, Boris Johnson's spokesman said he was "not going to be drawn into individual cases".

The spokesman said he had not spoken with the PM about the claim.

Asked if Mr Johnson was embarrassed, he replied: "He's [Stanley Johnson] a private individual, it's not one for me."

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Violence against women: the MPs' view

Pressed on whether the government would encourage other women with allegations against Stanley Johnson or any other politician to come forward, the spokesman told reporters: "I'm not going to get into allegations involving a private individual, but anyone who's been a victim should be free to come forward."

Ms Nokes tweeted on Tuesday: "Just wanted to thank the sisterhood for the solidarity and support today. You know who you are and you're amazing."

In the wake of the MP making her allegation, New Statesman journalist Ailbhe Rea has said she was "groped" by Stanley Johnson at the 2019 Conservative Party Conference.

Speaking to Sky News earlier, security minister Damian Hinds said an investigation will be carried out into allegations made against the PM's father "if that's the appropriate course of action".

Labour's shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds told Kay Burley that "any victim who comes forward we have to treat what they say very sensitively, very carefully".

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