Tory MP Caroline Nokes has condemned her colleague, culture secretary Nadine Dorries, for using her “considerable influence and power in the media” to dismiss her allegation against of inappropriate touching against Stanley Johnson, the Prime Minister’s father.
Nokes, the chairwoman of the Commons Women and Equalities Committee was responding to Dorries’ rejection of her allegation against Johnson during an interview with the Daily Mail yesterday.
“I don’t believe it happened,” Dorries told the Mail.
“I have known Stanley for 15 years. He is a gentleman. It never happened to me. Maybe there is something wrong with me,” she continued.
It follows Nokes’ allegation earlier this month against the former Tory MEP, who she said forcefully smacked her on the backside and said she has “a lovely seat” in 2003 ahead of him running to be a Tory MP.
The allegation also prompted Ailbhe Rea, a journalist for the New Statesman magazine, to accuse Mr Johnson of having “groped” her at the 2019 Tory conference.
Responding today to Dorries’ dismissal of her experience, Nokes said she was disappointed that her colleague had chosen to “denounce me in this way” and she hoped that the cabinet minister’s comments would not prevent other women from reporting sexual harassment in future.
“I am very sorry the Secretary of State at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has used her considerable influence and power in the media to denounce me in this way, and I very much hope her attitude does not deter other women from being brave enough to report their experiences of public sexual harassment,” Ms Nokes told the PA news agency.
Stanley Johnson has not denied the two allegations made against him, but has said that he has “no recollection” of either incident.
Speaking during a panel discussion earlier this month, Nokes said: “I’ve had male MPs stick their hands on my backside in Strangers’ Bar (in Parliament).
“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, journalist Ailbhe 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.”