Tories under fire for refusing to suspend MP arrested on suspicion of rape

The Conservative Party has come under fire for refusing to suspend an MP arrested on suspicion of rape.

The unnamed MP, a former minister, was arrested yesterday and questioned at a London police station, before being released on bail last night.

According to the Sunday Times, the complainant is a former parliamentary worker who accused the middle-aged man of rape, sexual assault and coercive control during a relationship last year.

She alleges that the MP assaulted her, forced her to have sex and left her so traumatised that she had to go to hospital, the newspaper reports.

The Mirror understands Chief Whip Mark Spencer and Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg were both made aware of the allegations by a fellow MP, who had spoken with the alleged victim.

According to the Sunday Times, the woman also spoke to Mr Spencer directly. She did not speak directly to Mr Rees-Mogg.

The PA news agency reports Mr Spencer advised her to make a formal complaint to the authorities.

However, the Conservative whips’ office today confirmed the MP will retain the Tory whip until the police investigation concludes.

A spokeswoman for the whips’ office said: “These are serious allegations and it is right that they are investigated fully.

“The Whip has not been suspended. This decision will be reviewed once the police investigation has been concluded.”

Shadow safeguarding minister Jess Phillips hit out at the “shocking” decision, saying: “While pending a police investigation for a sexual crime, I think it is only right that the whip is withdrawn.”



Jess Phillips hit out at the “shocking” decision, saying: “While pending a police investigation for a sexual crime, I think it is only right that the whip is withdrawn”

Speaking to Times Radio, the Labour MP added: “It is very difficult to comment on the case itself because it is quite rightly in front of the criminal justice system.

“But what I would say in this matter is in any organisation – especially one like MPs who every day work with vulnerable people, young activists, members of staff… somebody would be suspended while the investigation was taking place.

“I find it shocking this morning in the news that the Conservative Party has decided not to withdraw the whip in this case.

“I’m afraid to say it reminds me of another case… of the ex-Tory MP Charlie Elphicke.”

Elphicke – who was convicted on Thursday of three counts of sexual assault – had the whip suspended in November 2017 when the allegations were reported to police.

But he later had the whip restored in December 2018, just before a no confidence vote in Theresa May, only to have it suspended again the following year.

Scotland Yard said the allegations relate to four separate incidents alleged to have taken place between July 2019 and January 2020.



Scotland Yard said the allegations relate to four separate incidents alleged to have taken place

A Met Police spokesman said: “On Friday the Metropolitan police service received allegations relating to four separate incidents involving allegations of sexual offences and assault.

“These offences are alleged to have occurred at addresses in Westminster, Lambeth and Hackney between July 2019 and January 2020.

“A man in his 50s was arrested on Saturday, August 1 on suspicion of rape.”

A Conservative Party spokesman said: “We take all allegations of this nature extremely seriously.

“As this matter is now in the hands of the police it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

Speaking to Times Radio on Sunday, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said he did not know the name of the MP involved.

“I’ve read the accusations in the newspapers this morning but I don’t know more than you do in that respect,” Mr Jenrick said.

“These are very serious allegations and they should be investigated.

“They’re in the hands of the police, so I don’t think I can comment any more than that.”

Asked if he wanted to see the Tory whip removed from the MP, Mr Jenrick said: “We need to take allegations of this nature very seriously and I’m confident that the party is, and will do.”

source.



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