03 August 2020 00:42
We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights. Sign up fornow and never miss the top politics stories again. A Conservative whip's office spokesman said the "whip has not been suspended" after the former minister was arrested and taken to an east London police station on Saturday morning and later released on bail. He said: "These are serious allegations and it is right that they are investigated fully.
The whip has not been suspended. "This decision will be reviewed once the police investigation has been concluded." The Conservative MP was arrested after a former parliamentary aide accused him of rape, sexual assault and coercive control. The ex-minister, who has not been named, is alleged to have assaulted a woman, in her 20s, and forced her to have sex, the Sunday Times and Mail on Sunday said. The abuse is alleged to have taken place during a relationship. Labour said it is "shocking" that the whip had not been suspended. Shadow safeguarding minister Jess Phillips criticised the Tories for failing to suspend the whip from the Tory MP in question, a move that would effectively eject him from the party. Speaking to Times Radio, the Labour MP said: "It is very difficult to comment on the case itself because it is quite rightly in front of the criminal justice system. "But what I would say in this matter, is in any organisation - especially one like Members of Parliament who everyday work with vulnerable people, young activists, members of staff - in any other organisation, were this police investigation to be going on, somebody would be suspended while the investigation was taking place." Calling the lack of action "shocking", Ms Phillips said it sent a "terrible message" that senior figures were still able to secure "protection" from their Westminster status. She added: "While pending a police investigation for a sexual crime, I think it is only right that the whip is withdrawn."