Pincher: the name sounds like a character from a Jeffrey Archer novel or the TV drama House of Cards.

There have also been, inevitably, some wry smiles and giggles among MPs about the former deputy chief whip’s unusual surname and the groping allegations against him.

But in all seriousness, as Mr Pincher faces up to his humiliation, the reality is that Boris Johnson has been shamed into disciplining a close ally after a clamor for action from senior Tory MPs, led by two female former ministers.

Politics Hub: Boris Johnson agrees to withdraw whip from Tory MP after ‘drunken groping’ claims

We’ve grown used to spectacular U-turns by the prime minister. But the belated decision to withdraw the Tory whip from Mr Pincher after initial defiance was inevitable and predictable.

At noon, the PM’s spokesman denied that Mr Johnson had been warned about Mr Pincher’s conduct when he appointed him to the key post of deputy chief whip back in February.

really? In 2017, at the height of the so-called “Pestminster” scandal, Mr Pincher had been forced to resign from the whips’ office after an accuser – a former Olympic rower – claimed he behaved like a “pound shop Harvey Weinstein”.

He got the job of deputy chief whip in the February reshuffle this year as a reward for his key role in the so-called “Operation Save Big Dog”, seeing off opposition to the PM from Tory MPs at the height of the partygate scandal.

And after protests led by ex-ministers Caroline Nokes and Karen Bradley, who chair Commons select committees, the inevitable Downing Street U-turn came at 5pm, just five hours after the initial Number 10 defiance.

The official reason given for the climbdown was that a formal complaint about Mr Pincher had now been made to the Commons authorities.

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Former Tory MP: Double standards over Pincher

Some will say Mr Pincher is fortunate that the police haven’t been asked to investigate. Yet. That could happen.

The investigation will be carried out by the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS), set up in 2018 following “Pestminster”.

Its main job has been to tackle MPs’ sexual misconduct, though its remit also includes bullying and harassment allegations.

But the inevitable climbdown won’t spare Mr Johnson from claims that his judgment has once again been shown to be deeply flawed and that yet again he has been irresponsibly lenient towards a mate, ally or crony accused of wrongdoing.

Remember Owen Paterson and Matt Hancock. First came defiance from the PM, then the inevitable retreat after a furious political and public backlash.

In a delicious irony, Neil Parish, the former Devon MP who was ruthlessly booted out of Parliament after watching porn on his mobile phone in the Commons chamber, has accused the prime minister of double standards when it came to Mr Pincher.

The PM’s critics will claim that once again Mr Johnson wanted to see if he could brazenly get away with defending his friend Mr Pincher, but after just a few short hours realized he had to bow to the inevitable.

Those critics will also claim Mr Johnson’s attempt to cling on to Mr Pincher as a Tory MP was always doomed to failure and raises further questions about his fitness for office, lack of integrity and contempt for rules and proper conduct.

The PM’s supporters, however, claim he took soundings from MPs during the day and when he heard about the official complaint to the ICGS acted properly and took the right course of action.

Mr Pincher’s replacement is another Johnson loyalist, Kelly Tolhurst, MP for Rochester and Strood in Kent, who was previously a whip, then a junior minister.

Some Tory MPs fear the whole Pincher fiasco could be more damaging than partygate for the PM. It confirms his blind devotion to mates, terrible judgment and lack of ethics, his critics claim.

Boris Johnson is almost certainly a more colorful and controversial personality than any character in a political novel or TV drama.

And now an official investigation into the accusations against Mr Pincher are under way, this story is far from over.

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