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Boris Johnson says it is ‘absolutely right’ women ‘make complaints’ amid Stanley’s ‘grope’ claims

Boris Johnson has refused to say whether his father Stanley will be probed by the Tories after two women made claims of inappropriate touching.

The PM said it was ‘absolutely right’ women feel they can make complaints with confidence.

It comes after it emerged Stanley could be fired from a prestigious role as an environmental ambassador over the sexual assault allegations.

The powerful Conservative Environment Network, of which he is international ambassador, said: ‘The alleged behaviour is not acceptable.’

The 81-year-old allegedly assaulted Conservative MP Caroline Nokes who said he had smacked her ‘on the backside about as hard as he could’ in 2003.

Her revelation earlier this week promoted political journalist Ailbhe Rea to come out and say he ‘groped me’.

But as calls grew for a probe, a supporter of the ‘charming’ former MEP vowed it should not be a police matter if he was ‘a little over-friendly, indeed handsy’.

The PM (pictured in Selby, North Yorkshire today) said it was ‘absolutely right’ women feel they can make complaints with confidence

It comes after it emerged Stanley (pictured in London yesterday) could be fired from a prestigious role as an environmental ambassador over the sexual assault allegations

It comes after it emerged Stanley (pictured in London yesterday) could be fired from a prestigious role as an environmental ambassador over the sexual assault allegations

Asked about the claims against his father, Mr Johnson said today: ‘First of all, it’s absolutely right that everybody, women in particular, should be able, have the confidence, to come forward and make complaints.’

The Prime Minister added: ‘I’m obviously not going to comment on individual cases.’

He also declined during a visit to a Network Rail logistics hub near Selby, North Yorkshire, to say whether he has spoken to his father about the allegations.

Last night it emerged Stanley could lose his role as international ambassador of the Conservative Environment Network.

Yesterday in an excruciating exchange in the Commons, the PM 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 Mr 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?’ 

The 81-year-old allegedly assaulted Conservative MP Caroline Nokes (pictured) who said he had smacked her 'on the backside about as hard as he could'

Her revelation earlier this week promoted political journalist Ailbhe Rea (pictured) to come out and say he 'groped me'

The 81-year-old allegedly assaulted Conservative MP Caroline Nokes (left) who said he had smacked her ‘on the backside about as hard as he could’. Her revelation earlier this week promoted political journalist Ailbhe Rea (right) to come out and say he ‘groped me’

Stanley 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 during a panel discussion on Sky News.

She said during the Tory Party conference in 2003, when she had been the Tories’ candidate for Romsey, Stanley slapped her bottom and said: ‘Oh, Romsey, you’ve got a lovely seat.’

After the allegation was broadcast, political journalist Miss Rea, who writes for the New Statesman, 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 she 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.’

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'

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’

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’.’

Lifelong conservationist Stanley 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.

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’

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’

‘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.

She said: ‘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.’

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