Rachel Johnson implies MP did not play by the rules over sexual harassment allegation

Rachel Johnson, the broadcaster and sister of the prime minister, has questioned Conservative MP Caroline Nokes decision to accuse her father Stanley Johnson of an incident of sexual harassment.

Ms Nokes told Sky News last week that Stanley Johnson, the prime minister’s father, had inappropriately touched her and told her she has “a lovely seat” at the party’s 2003 conference in Blackpool.

On her Difficult Women podcast, Ms Johnson said of her father: “He’s been in a spot of bother because a female Tory MP didn’t really play up and play the game because she revealed he’d smacked her bottom about 20 years ago.”

The phrase “play up and play the game” means that someone has not played by the rules.

When asked: “What do you think about women who bring up these things – these historic allegations?” Ms Johnson replied: “What worries me about it, what does it achieve?”

She went on: “My fear is, it does encourager les autres [encourage other] women to come out and say things that have happened to them, but also I’ve heard men saying: ‘Bloody women, you can’t trust them and we don’t know how to behave anymore.’”

She claimed she did not intend to excuse “any sort of male aggressive sexual behaviour”, but that she thought: “I do think it rebounds against women in the end.”

Ailbhe Rea, a New Statesman journalist, has also accused the ex-MEP Stanley Johnson of having “groped” her at a party conference in 2019.

Mr Johnson has denied the allegations.