Amber Rudd and Matt Hancock won't be the last to rally in support of Charlotte Edwardes

The journalist who alleges Boris Johnson groped her is highly-regarded - and in some cases, friends with - many top Conservatives

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Matt Hancock and Amber Rudd have both come out in support of Charlotte Edwardes, the Sunday Times journalist who today alleges that Boris Johnson groped her when he was editor of the Spectator magazine. 

Just as Downing Street issued an official denial, Hancock told Channel 4: “I know Charlotte well and I entirely trust what she has to say”. Rudd then tweeted: “I agree with Matt.”

It is my strong feeling that these two senior Conservatives won’t be the last to come out in support of Edwardes. She is hugely well-known, well-respected and well-liked among political circles, and is, in some cases, personal friends with them. (I know because, for the sake of full disclosure, she edited the Londoner’s Diary at the Evening Standard when I was a reporter there.)

This is not simply an allegation from an anonymous source, but someone who is vouched for, and is clearly trusted by figures like Hancock and Rudd. I don’t think they will be the last to come out in her support. As one cabinet member publicly supports the woman accusing the Prime Minister of sexual harassment, with maybe more to follow, Boris Johnson looks to be in for a bigger fight than he maybe was anticipating.

Ailbhe Rea is political correspondent at the New Statesman