Under-fire Tory frontrunner Daniel Korski pulls out of London Mayoral race

Claire Coutinho grilled on ‘sympathy’ for Daniel Korski by Burley

Daniel Korski has pulled out of the race to be the Tory candidate for Mayor of London.

The former No 10 adviser, who made the shortlist to be the Conservative Party’s candidate to take on Sadiq Khan, said he was withdrawing from the contest “with a heavy heart”.

The move comes after he was accused of groping a woman a decade ago.

Mr Korski denies groping TV producer and writer Daisy Goodwin at a meeting in Downing Street.

In a statement this afternoon, he said: “I have decided, with a heavy heart, to withdraw from the Conservative mayoral contest.

“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.

“I am proud of having run a positive campaign that championed new ideas, technology and talent, and the years I have campaigned for the Conservative Party and to make the lives of Londoners better.

“I believe strongly that Londoners deserve an uplifting and positive vision for their city. I tried hard to offer that.

“The news agenda is becoming a distraction from the race and the Conservative Party.

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“I wish the excellent remaining contestants well and I know the Conservative Party’s eventual candidate will beat Sadiq Khan and offer the kind of rejuvenation London so desperately needs. I will do my utmost to support the Conservative Party and the eventual Conservative candidate. Thank you to my family, friends and all my supporters.”

One insider told the Express they are “proud of the campaign we ran”.

Mr Korski came under pressure after Ms Goodwin alleged he groped her in an article in The Times.

She wrote: “When we both stood up at the end of the meeting and went to the door, the spad stepped towards me and suddenly put his hand on my breast. Astonished, I said loudly, ‘Are you really touching my breast?’ The spad sprang away from me and I left.

“Although I suppose legally his action could be called sexual assault, I have to say that I did not feel frightened. I was older, taller and very possibly wiser than the spad, and having worked for the BBC in the Eighties I knew how to deal with gropers.

“What I felt was surprise and some humiliation. I was a successful award-winning TV producer with 40 or so people working for me; this was not behaviour that I would have tolerated in my office.

“By the time I got back to work I had framed it as an anecdote about the spad who groped me in No 10. His behaviour was so bizarre that I couldn’t help seeing the humour in it. It was as if I had walked into Carry On Downing Street.”

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