10 Downing Street
10 Downing Street (Image: AP/Frank Augstein)

When news broke last week that Chris Pincher had resigned as the government’s deputy chief whip, the initial reaction among much of Westminster was something like a sigh of relief -- “finally”.

Pincher had been accused of groping two men in the Carlton Club -- a favourite Conservative hangout -- and had admitted to being a drunken embarrassment, while continuing to deny further wrongdoing.

But allegations both public and private about Pincher’s conduct have circulated for years, known to most journalists and MPs with even a passing familiarity of Parliament. After denying it for three days, No. 10 had to finally admit on Monday that it too -- like everyone else -- had known of the allegations about Pincher when Boris Johnson promoted him to his current role.