Tory MP arrested, banned from Commons over rape allegations
A Tory MP has been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault, rape, misconduct, and abuse of a position of trust.
British PM Boris Johnson's party has been embroiled in a new crisis when it was revealed on Monday that a Conservative MP had been detained on suspicion of severe sexual offenses, including rape.
The arrest of the unnamed guy on Monday came after a two-year investigation, according to Metropolitan Police, and was connected to offenses allegedly committed between 2002 and 2009.
According to the Met Police, the man, "aged in his 50s, was arrested on suspicion of indecent assault, sexual assault, rape, abuse of a position of trust and misconduct in public office. He remains in custody."
According to Westminster insiders, several of the offenses are thought to have occurred in parliament.
The arrest of the MP happened as a date was set for two byelections caused by the resignation of Conservative MPs. Former Wakefield MP Imran Ahmad Khan was found guilty of sexually abusing a 15-year-old child, while former Tiverton MP Neil Parish confessed to accessing pornography in the House of Commons chamber.
Read more: UK MP resigns amid accusations of watching porn at Parliament
Last month, more than 50 MPs, including three cabinet ministers were referred to a parliamentary watchdog and are reportedly facing allegations of sexual misconduct, The Guardian reported.
Another Tory MP, David Warburton, was also accused of a series of sexual harassment and cocaine use allegations that will be assessed by the ICGS, Warburton denied the allegations and insisted he has “enormous amounts of defense," the Guardian mentioned.
A spokeswoman for the Conservative Whips' Office stated the MP will be instructed not to attend parliament. “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.”
To protect the victims' identity, it is known that no decision on whether to take the whip from the MP will be made until the police investigation is concluded.
This latest instance will reignite questions about Westminster's culture and whether it is a safe place to work.
“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 offenses?" questioned Garry Graham, deputy general secretary of Prospect union.
“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.”
Female Conservative MPs recently met with the chief whip to express their worries about certain colleagues' behavior — a meeting that resulted in Parish's departure after his behavior was mentioned.
Mark Spencer, the leader of the House of Commons, stated last week that his party was dedicated to picking higher-quality candidates in the next general election, alleging that the snap elections in 2017 and 2019 had resulted in blunders.
According to Spencer, “I think we’ll be in a much better place at the next general election, certainly in the [Conservative] party as we will have taken much more time to scrutinize people. There will be a much longer process."
Details of the MP's detention were revealed amid what the administration had thought would be "crime week," with pronouncements about tougher police. On Tuesday morning, the prime minister addressed his cabinet, "Crime, crime, crime is what we want to focus on."
The Met is still looking into meetings in Downing Street and Whitehall during Covid lockdowns.
More than 100 fixed-penalty warnings have been issued so far, but Johnson has only been fined once, together with his wife, Carrie Johnson, and the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, for a 2020 birthday celebration.
Many Conservative backbenchers are concerned about the damage on the Conservatives' reputation as the party of law and order – but have so far refrained from calling a vote of no confidence in the prime minister.