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Fri, 4 December 2020

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Tory MP arrested on suspicion of rape

Tory MP arrested on suspicion of rape

The Met Police headquarters at New Scotland Yard (Credit: PA)

3 min read

A Conservative MP and former minister has been arrested on suspicion of rape.

The man in his 50s has since been bailed, the Metropolitan Police said, after being detained on Saturday over allegations of four separate incidents between July 2019 and January 2020.

The Sunday Times reported that the allegations related to a former parliamentary staffer, who said she was assaulted by the MP, forced to have sex and was left so traumatised she had to go to hospital. 

The woman, in her 20s, also accused him of coercive control.

The paper also reported that Tory chief whip Mark Spencer and Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg had previously been made aware of the allegations.

Sources said Mr Spencer did not realise the "magnitude" at the time and did not believe a sexual assaut had been disclosed to him.

But a spokesman for the chief whip said he took all allegations seriously, and urged anyone who had contacted him to report such incidents to the authorities.

Douglas Ross, who is running to replace Jackson Carlaw as Scottish Tory leader, told Times Radio on Sunday: "These are extremely serious allegations and they have to be investigated thoroughly.

"I did see further comments from the chief whip's office that they weren't aware of the magnitude of the allegations. I can't explain anything further, I wasn't party to any of these discussions but clearly they must be investigated thoroughly and that's clearly happening with the Met Police."

A Conservative Party spokesperson 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."

The Sunday Times said the alleged victim had reported the case to the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme, set up in 2017 to allow parliamentary employees to report bullying and harassment and sexual misconduct. 

A Met Police spokesperson said: "On Friday, 31 July, 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, 1 August on suspicion of rape. He has been released on bail to return on a date in mid-August."

It comes just days after ex-Tory MP Charlie Elphicke was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault.

Southwark Crown Court heard that Mr Elphicke allegedly attempted to kiss and grope a parliamentary staffer after a drink in Westminster in 2016, and and that he had later slid his hand up her thigh towards her groin.

He will be sentenced next month, with the judge warning "all options", including custody, remained on the table.

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