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Tory MP accused of rape, triggering calls for tougher safety measures

A UNION representing parliamentary staff demanded tougher safety measures in the Commons today after a Tory MP was arrested and bailed over allegations of rape and sexual offences.

Scotland Yard said that the unnamed man in his 50s was also detained on suspicion of indecent assault, abuse of position of trust and misconduct in public office.

Tory chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris urged the MP to stay away from Parliament but has not suspended the whip, meaning the suspect remains a member of the parliamentary party.

It was understood that the Conservatives will not make a decision on whether the suspect has the whip suspended until after the police investigation is concluded.

The Prospect union, which represents hundreds of staff working in the Houses of Parliament, said firmer action is needed.

The Public and Commercial Services union, which represents civil servants, also reiterated its call for MPs to be banned from Parliament if they are accused of sexual misconduct. A union spokesman said: "We believe this is a loophole that potentially poses a risk to hundreds of staff and other MPs who might interact with the accused."

Deputy general secretary 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?”

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle told MPs that the member has confirmed he will not attend the Commons while the investigation is ongoing.

He said: “I, the House of Commons commission and the House service take the safety of our staff and parliamentary community as a whole very seriously and are ensuring any necessary measures are taken in respect of MPs, employees and staff.”

The arrest comes amid renewed scrutiny of sleaze in Westminster following a string of incidents involving Tory MPs.

Former Conservative MP Imran Ahmad Khan quit the Commons earlier this month after being convicted of sexually assaulting a boy.

David Warburton had the Conservative whip withdrawn after allegations of sexual harassment and cocaine use emerged.

Neil Parish stood down as the Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton earlier this month after admitting to watching pornography in the Commons.

The latest arrest also follows a Conservative MP being arrested on suspicion of rape in 2020.

He was never identified and police took no further action after an investigation.

A statement from the Tory 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.”


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