A senior Conservative MP has accused Boris Johnson’s 81-year-old father Stanley Johnson of ‘smacking her on the backside’ – prompting a young journalist to claim she had also been groped by him.
Former minister Caroline Nokes, 49, said the elder Mr Johnson told her she has ‘a lovely seat’ during the incident which allegedly took place at the Tory Party conference in Blackpool in 2003 when she was in her early 30s.
The chairman of the Women and Equalities committee was at the time a prospective parliamentary candidate for Romsey and Southampton North, and made the allegation during a panel discussion on Sky News.
She said: ‘I can remember a really prominent man – at the time the Conservative candidate for Teignbridge in Devon – smacking me on the backside about as hard as he could and going, ‘oh, Romsey, you’ve got a lovely seat’.’
Mrs Nokes then said the candidate was Mr Johnson Sr, 81, who later failed to get elected. She added: ‘I would have been in my early 30s, so old enough to call it out. I now regard it as a duty… to call out wherever you see it.’
Responding to the allegation, Mr Johnson Sr said: ‘I have no recollection of Caroline Nokes at all – but there you go. And no reply… good luck and thanks.’
But now another woman has claimed she was also inappropriately touched by Mr Johnson Sr. New Statesman 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.’
Ms Rea, who is aged in her mid-20s and grew up Belfast, graduated from Oxford University in 2017 and has worked for the New Statesman as a political correspondent since July 2019.
Today, Home Office minister Damian Hinds said an investigation will be carried out into the allegations ‘if that’s the appropriate course of action’. And shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds told Sky News: ‘Any victim who comes forward we have to treat what they say very sensitively, very carefully.’
It comes as Mr Johnson Sr was photographed not wearing a mask while waiting to board a flight to London at Dubai Airport yesterday. He was pictured standing in line around other passengers who were all wearing masks.
Guardian football journalist Simon Burnton took the picture and tweeted: ‘Just back from Dubai, and there was one person on my flight who didn’t think masks were for them. It was… Boris Johnson’s dad #likefatherlikeson.’
Last year a biography of the Prime Minister claimed Mr Johnson Sr’s late wife Charlotte Johnson Wahl needed hospital treatment after being hit by him in the 1970s. He is said to have deeply regretted the ‘isolated’ incident.
A senior Tory MP accused Stanley Johnson, the Prime Minister’s father, of inappropriately touching her. Responding to the allegation, he said: ‘I have no recollection of Caroline Nokes at all – but there you go. And no reply… good luck and thanks’
Senior Conservative MP Caroline Nokes (left), 49, and New Statesman journalist Ailbhe Rea (right) have both accused Stanley Johnson of inappropriately touching them
Asked about the allegations, Mr Hinds told Times Radio: ‘I don’t know obviously about the … I’ve heard this morning, as you have, or overnight, about this, about these allegations.
‘I can say that, overall, in terms of the safety of women and girls, and being free from harassment wherever they are at home, at work, in the street, and online, this is an absolute top priority for the Government.
‘But I’m not joining a link between that and at this because we don’t know, but if there is an investigation to be had, then, of course, that will happen.’
He added: ‘If there is an investigation to be had, if that is the appropriate course of action, then of course that will happen.’
Ms Nokes made the allegation during a cross-party panel on how to confront violence against women in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder. She added: ‘I now regard it as a duty, an absolute duty, to call out wherever you see it.
Stanley Johnson and Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester last month
‘Be the noisy, aggravating, aggressive woman in the room because if I’m not prepared to do that, then my daughter won’t be prepared to do that… you do get to a point where you go ”up with this, I will not put”.’
Ms Nokes also said: ‘I’ve had male MPs stick their hands on my backside in Strangers’ Bar (in Parliament).’
The discussion also featured Labour MPs Jess Philips and Rosena Allin-Khan, and Conservative MP Fay Jones. During the conversation hosted by Sky News, each of the politicians also described their own experiences.
Ms Nokes also alleged she was groped as an 11-year-old by a group of men. And Ms Philips, the shadow minister for domestic violence, claimed she was assaulted by a former boss at a party.
Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, shadow minister for mental health, claimed she was harassed by a senior medic when she was a junior doctor.
New Statesman journalist Ailbhe Rea said: ‘Stanley Johnson also groped me at a party at Conservative conference in 2019’
Mr Johnson, pictured being confronted on Sky News, is accused of smacking a female Conservative on the bottom in 2003
And Fay Jones, the Tory MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, described how she was flashed by a man when she was 17. All four women called for public sexual harassment to be made a specific crime in upcoming legislation.
A move to create the offence within the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill going through Parliament is supported by the Home Secretary but is yet to be approved by Downing Street, Sky News reported.
Last year a biography of the Prime Minister claimed Mr Johnson Sr hit the Prime Minister’s mother in a domestic violence incident that broke her nose and left her requiring hospital treatment.
Investigative author Tom Bower described Mr Johnson Sr’s first marriage, to Mr Johnson Jr’s mother Charlotte, as violent and unhappy, quoting her as saying: ‘He broke my nose. He made me feel like I deserved it.’
In the book called The Gambler, Charlotte told the author: ‘I want the truth to be told.’ Family friends confirmed the story to the Mail On Sunday, but insisted that the incident had been a one-off.
Mr Johnson told Sky: ‘I have no recollection of Caroline Nokes at all – but there you go. And no reply… good luck and thanks’
Former minister Caroline Nokes, 49, is seen during Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons in July 2021
The friends said it happened in the 1970s when Charlotte was suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and had ‘flailed’ at Stanley, who broke her nose when ‘flailing back’.
They added that Stanley deeply regretted the incident, which led to Charlotte being taken to hospital, and denied that he had been violent on any other occasion.
She and Mr Johnson Sr had four children together including the future Prime Minister but divorced in 1979. Soon after he remarried to Jennifer Kidd in 1981 and they had two children.
Mr Johnson lost the campaign to become an MP in 2005 but had served as a Conservative member of the European Parliament between 1979 and 1984.
He did not immediately respond when contacted by the PA news agency about both of the allegations.