An unnamed Conservative MP arrested on suspicion of serious sexual offences including rape has been released on bail pending further enquiries by the police and instructed to stay away from the Commons until the investigation has concluded.
The arrest, which came hours after Boris Johnson said he wanted ministers to focus on “crime, crime, crime”, followed a two-year investigation related to offences that the Metropolitan Police allege were committed between 2002 and 2009.
In a statement today, the Met 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 was taken into custody and has since been bailed pending further enquiries to a date in mid-June.”
The MP has been told by Tory chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris not to return to the Commons. This is a voluntary agreement. He has not had the Conservative whip removed and is not expected to until the police finish their investigation.
A spokesperson for the Conservative Whips office 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.”
The Sunday Times reported in April that 56 MPs are currently facing allegations of sexual misconduct. Around 70 complaints are thought to have been submitted to parliament’s independent complaints and grievance scheme since 2018.
Two by-elections are already set to take place this year following the resignation of Conservative MPs: Imran Ahmad Khan, who was convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy; and Neil Parrish, who admitted watching pornography on his phone while in the Commons chamber.
Prospect union’s 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?”
The deputy general secretary added: “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.”
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