Tory MP banned from Commons after arrest on suspicion of rape and sexual assault

17 May 2022, 17:48 | Updated: 18 May 2022, 00:13

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

By Daisy Stephens

A Conservative MP has been arrested on suspicion of rape and sexual assault, after allegations spanning a seven-year period.

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The Met said a man in his 50s had been arrested on suspicion of rape and sexual assault, as well as indecent assault, abuse of position of trust and misconduct in public office.

The unnamed individual has been asked not to attend Parliament until the investigation concludes.

However the chief whip, Chris Heaton-Harris, has not suspended the whip, meaning the suspect remains a member of the party.

The force said the report - received in 2020 - related to offences alleged to have been carried out in London between 2002 and 2009.

The MP concerned remains in custody.

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"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 Metropolitan Police said: "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 remains in custody."

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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."