A Conservative MP arrested on suspicion of rape has ‘voluntarily agreed not to attend the House of Commons for the period of the bail’, the Speaker has said.
The MP, in his 50s, was arrested in August over allegations of rape and sexual assault made by a female former parliamentary aide. He has been released on bail until November.
Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said today in a statement to the Commons: ‘The House will know that a member has been arrested in connection with an investigation into an allegation of a very serious criminal offence.
‘I have received assurances from the member and the Government Chief Whip that the member has voluntarily agreed not to attend the House of Commons for the period of the bail.
‘I, the House of Commons Commission and the House service take the safety of our staff and the parliamentary community as a whole very seriously, and ensuring any necessary measures are taken in respect of MPs and employers and staff.’
The Speaker added that all members have access to and should ‘not hesitate to use’ Parliament’s Independent Sexual Misconduct Advisory Service. He then went on to discourage them from using parliamentary privilege to name the MP who had been arrested.
The special legal immunity allows members of the House of Commons and House of Lords to speak freely during proceedings without fear of legal action.
Sir Lindsay continued: ‘While the investigation is ongoing, I believe it would be wholly inappropriate for any further reference to be made to this matter in the House, including any attempt to name the member concerned. I would appreciate your co-operation on this matter.’
The MP’s alleged victim is reported to have urged others in the Commons to use their parliamentary privilege to name him, despite concerns this could also result in her identification.
She has accused the MP of assaulting her across four incidents which took place between July 2019 and January 2020 in Westminster, Hackney and Lambeth. One of the alleged incidents resulted in her seeking hospital treatment.
A friend of the alleged victim said she was only ‘going down this route’ due a ‘lack of action’ by the Conservative Party. The MP has not currently been suspended.
The friend told the Daily Mail: ‘He should not under any circumstances be allowed to meet constituents and in any other workplace he would be suspended. He’s been arrested for a serious violent offence.
‘It’s important he’s named so every constituent can take relevant precautions, it’s a public safety issue.’
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