Daniel Korski has pulled out of the race to be the Conservative candidate for London mayor. The former adviser to David Cameron cited the allegation by TV producer Daisy Goodwin that he had groped her during a meeting at 10 Downing Street in 2013 as the reason he is withdrawing.
In his statement announcing the news, Korski said he continued to ‘categorically’ deny the allegation against him. However, he said that the pressure on his family as a result of the claims meant that he felt he had no choice but to drop out of the race:
‘I categorically deny the allegation against me. Nothing was ever put to me formally ten years ago. Nor seven years ago when the allegation was alluded to. No investigation has ever taken place. I have been clear I would welcome and constructively participate in any investigation. However, the pressure on my family because of this false and unproven allegation and the inability to get a hearing for my message of ‘The London Dream’ makes it impossible for my campaign to carry on.’
Korski was certainly struggling to talk about anything else since Goodwin gave her version of events in an article for the Times earlier this week. Goodwin has since said that other women have got in touch with ‘interesting stories’.
The fallout meant that even Korski’s more loyal supporters were questioning the wisdom of him staying in the race, regardless of who is in the right. His Tory MP supporters, too, have felt the heat – facing questions on whether they still backed Korski. It has not helped matters that the complaints process is rather complicated: CCHQ said it was a matter for the Cabinet Office given the alleged incident occurred in Downing Street ten years ago.
So, where does this leave the mayoral race? The Tories already face an uphill path in London, with Labour surging ahead in the polls.