Tory MP arrested on suspicion of rape released on bail ‘pending further inquiries’

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House of Commons
House of Commons

A Conservative MP has been bailed after being arrested on suspicion of rape and a string of other sexual offences spanning seven years.

The sitting politician was being questioned by Metropolitan Police officers on Tuesday after being accused of rape, indecent assault, sexual assault, abuse of a position of trust and misconduct in a public office.

The Met have confirmed he has been bailed pending further enquiries to a date in mid-June.

Police also visited his office on the parliamentary estate in Westminster, although the arrest took place elsewhere, The Telegraph understands.

Chris Heaton-Harris, the Chief Whip, has asked the MP to stay away from the parliamentary estate while the claims are investigated by police.

But the MP, aged in his 50s, will retain the Conservative whip and the right to sit in Parliament during debates.

On Tuesday, the Conservative Party was under pressure to name the MP to avoid other politicians coming under suspicion. A union boss said he should be formally barred from Parliament while the claims are investigated.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said the arrest was the result of a two-year investigation by the Metropolitan Police’s Central Specialist Crime unit, following a report received in January 2020.

The alleged offences were committed between 2002 and 2009 in London.

Series of sexual misconduct allegations involving MPs

It is the latest development in a series of allegations of sexual misconduct in Westminster, which have largely involved Conservative MPs.

David Warburton, the Tory MP for Somerton and Frome, was suspended from the party last month pending an investigation into claims of sexual harassment and cocaine use. Mr Warburton has denied any wrongdoing.

Imran Ahmad Khan, the MP for Wakefield, resigned his seat after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

Neil Parish, a Conservative who represented Tiverton and Honiton in Devon, also triggered a by-election when he resigned, after admitting he had watched pornography in the House of Commons Chamber.

Dozens of MPs are thought to have been referred to the parliamentary authorities for alleged misconduct of varying natures and around 15 are under investigation by the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme, the body that deals with sexual misconduct and bullying claims in Parliament.

The MP who was arrested on Tuesday has not yet been named by police or by the Conservative Party.

A Whips’ Office spokesman said: “The Chief Whip has asked that the MP concerned does not attend the parliamentary estate while an investigation is ongoing.

“Until the conclusion of the investigation, we will not be commenting further.”

However, one senior backbencher told The Telegraph that the party should issue a denial if any other MP was wrongly named as the suspect.

Last month, before Mr Parish was revealed as the “porn MP”, several other men were named in Westminster as potential perpetrators.

“What happened with Neil is that names flew around,” the colleague said on Tuesday. “There should be a categorical denial of the other names.”

Call to suspend MPs under investigation

Tuesday’s arrest, first reported by The Sun, follows the arrest of another Conservative MP for alleged rape in 2020. The MP was never identified and police ultimately took no further action over the claim.

Garry Graham, the deputy general secretary of the Prospect union, which represents parliamentary staff, said MPs who were being investigated for alleged sex crimes should be banned from the parliamentary estate.

Under the current convention, they can be asked by the Whips’ Office not to come to work, but not formally barred.

Mr 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 do not work, as demonstrated by Imran Ahmad Khan’s attendance at Westminster while 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.”

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “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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