Conservative former minister arrested over rape accusation
A Conservative MP has been arrested after a former parliamentary aide reportedly accused him of rape, sexual assault and coercive control.
The ex-minister, who has not been named, is alleged to have assaulted a woman and forced her to have sex, the Sunday Times and Mail on Sunday reported.
The abuse is alleged to have taken place during a relationship, the reports said.
Speaking to Times Radio on Sunday, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said he did not know the name of the MP involved.
“I’ve read the accusations in the newspapers this morning but I don’t know more than you do in that respect,” Mr Jenrick said.
“These are very serious allegations and they should be investigated.
“They’re in the hands of the police, so I don’t think I can comment any more than that.”
The Metropolitan Police said they received allegations on Friday of sexual offences and assault relating to four separate incidents at addresses in London, including in Westminster, between July last year and January this year.
A spokesman for the Met said: “The Met has launched an investigation into the allegations.”
A man was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of rape and was taken into custody at an east London police station, the force added.
He has been released on bail to a date in mid-August.
Mr Jenrick said Parliament “needs to be” a safe environment for young women to work in.
He told Times Radio: “There has clearly been some very difficult allegations and cases in recent years.
“We need to make sure, like any other workplace, it is one that’s fit for everybody, where everybody feels safe and comfortable working, and when allegations are raised they are treated with the seriousness they deserve.”
Asked whether he personally wanted to see the Tory whip removed from the MP under police investigation, Mr Jenrick said: “We need to take allegations of this nature very seriously and I’m confident that the party is, and will do. “
The papers said the allegations were raised with Tory Chief Whip Mark Spencer, and the complainant also spoke to him, but no action was taken.
The PA news agency understands Mr Spencer advised her to make a formal complaint to the authorities, who would be able to investigate the claims.
A spokesman for Mr 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, which can formally carry out independent and confidential investigations.”
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.”
The investigation comes days after former Conservative MP Charlie Elphicke was convicted at Southwark Crown Court in a separate case of sexually assaulting two women, one of whom was a parliamentary worker.
Published: by Radio NewsHub