Sunday 2 August 2020 1:59 pm

Tory MP arrested on suspicion of rape will not be suspended from party

The Tory MP arrested over allegations of rape will not be suspended from the party, in a decision that will only be reviewed following a police investigation, the Conservative party said today.

A spokesperson for the Conservative whips’ office said: “These are serious allegations and it is right that they are investigated fully. The whip has not been suspended.”

Read more: Tory MP arrested on suspicion of rape

“This decision will be reviewed once the police investigation has been concluded.”

The Tory MP, who has not been publicly identified, was taken into custody yesterday and released on bail.

He has been accused of rape, sexual assault and coercive control by a former parliamentary employee in her twenties.

The complainant alleges that the MP assaulted her, forced her to have sex, and left her so traumatised she had to go to hospital, the Times first reported.

The Metropolitan Police yesterday confirmed they have launched an investigation into four alleged incidents between July 2019 and January 2020 at addresses in Westminster, Lambeth and Hackney.

Shadow safeguarding minister Jess Phillips said it was “shocking” the party had not decided to withdraw the whip.

“In any other organisation, were this police investigation to be going on, somebody would be suspended while the investigation was taking place,” Phillips told Times Radio.

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

It comes after former Tory MP Charlie Elphicke was this week convicted of sexual assault after being found guilty of attacking a woman who worked for him and a parliamentary worker.

Elphicke was allowed to maintain the whip while being investigated for sexual assault.

Housing minister Robert Jenrick said the government will “take all the steps that are necessary” following the arrest.

“This is a very serious allegation and it’s right that it’s treated as such,” he said.

“We need to be a political party that ensures women are safe and feel comfortable at all times and that’s exactly what we are doing.”

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.”

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The Sunday Times reported that the Conservative Party’s chief whip, Mark Spencer, and Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the House of Commons, had been aware of allegations after speaking to the alleged victim a month ago.

A spokesman for Spencer said: “The chief whip takes all allegations of harassment and abuse extremely seriously and has strongly encouraged anybody who has approached him to contact the appropriate authorities, including parliament’s independent complaints and grievance scheme.”

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