Tory MP arrested on suspicion of rape and sexual assault released on bail

18 May 2022, 07:54 | Updated: 18 May 2022, 08:06

A Tory MP arrested on suspicion of rape and sexual assault offences has been released on bail
A Tory MP arrested on suspicion of rape and sexual assault offences has been released on bail. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

A Tory MP arrested on suspicion of rape and sexual assault offences has been released on bail pending further enquiries by the Metropolitan Police.

Scotland Yard said in an updated statement: "In January 2020, the Met received a report relating to alleged sexual offences having been committed between 2002 and 2009.

"The offences are alleged to have occurred in London.

"An investigation is ongoing, led by officers from Central Specialist Crime.

"A man, aged in his 50s, was arrested on suspicion of indecent assault, sexual assault, rape, abuse of position of trust and misconduct in public office.

"He was taken into custody and has since been bailed pending further enquiries to a date in mid-June."

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said this morning she was "very, very concerned" at the reports.

\Asked how she felt when she heard the news, she said: "I'm very, very concerned about the reports that I've heard. Clearly this is a matter for the police.

"The police are currently working on the case but it is worrying that we are seeing these appalling ... accusations, again, about a parliamentarian."

Asked if the MP should have been suspended or had the whip withdrawn, she said: "I think it's a matter for the police about whether that individual is named.

"I don't know who it is. I know that the police are looking at it and investigating it and I think we need to wait for the police to conduct those investigations."

"The Chief Whip has asked that the MP concerned does not attend the Parliamentary Estate while an investigation is ongoing," said a Conservative whips office spokeswoman.

"Until the conclusion of the investigation we will not be commenting further."It was understood the Conservatives will not make a decision on whether the suspect has the whip suspended until after the police investigation is concluded.

Conservative sources declined to identify the individual, citing the need to protect the identity of any complainant.

The Conservatives have been rocked by a series of scandals in recent months, prompting renewed scrutiny of sleaze in Westminster.

In April, former Tory MP Imran Ahmad Khan resigned from his post as Wakefield MP after being convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

Just weeks before that, fellow Tory MP David Warburton had the Conservative whip withdrawn after allegations of sexual harassment were made to the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme.

Over the last year, about 15 MPs are expected to have been investigated by Parliament's ICGS - set up in the aftermath of the #MeToo scandal - that examines allegations of bullying, harassment or sexual misconduct.

Labour MP Tulip Siddiq told LBC she worried about Parliament's reputaition and said there should be a "zero tolerance" approach to the behaviour of MPs.

"For me it's not about who it is from which party, if it's someone from my party and they've engaged in sexual misconduct there should be a zero tolerance approach and I think all MPs should be saying that," she said.

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The Prospect union, which represents hundreds of staff working in the Houses of Parliament, said firmer action is needed.

Deputy general secretary Garry Graham said: "What will it take for Parliament to finally take its responsibility to its staff and visitors seriously and suspend access to the estate for parliamentarians under investigation for sexual offences?

"Voluntary agreements to stay away do not work, as demonstrated by Imran Ahmad Khan's attendance at Westminster whilst investigations were ongoing, despite agreeing to stay away.

"Parliament has the same responsibilities towards its staff as any other workplace and it must live up to them."