A Conservative MP has been arrested on suspicion of rape and sexual assault, the party confirmed on Tuesday.
The MP, who has not been named, has been asked to avoid parliament, pending an investigation by the Metropolitan police’s central specialized crime unit.
News of the arrest was first reported in Sun newspaper identified the person as a Tory MP.
The Met said in a statement: “A man in his 50s has been arrested on suspicion of indecent assault, sexual assault, rape, abuse of a position of trust and misconduct in the public office. Police have not confirmed the identity of the man currently in custody.
The force said in January 2020, the Met received a report regarding alleged sex offenses over a seven-year period between 2002 and 2009.
“The offense is believed to have occurred in London,” the force added. “An investigation is ongoing, led by officers from the central crime department.”
Government insiders say the party is unlikely to name the individual in question while the investigation continues.
A spokesman from the Conservatives’ whip office said on Tuesday: “The Chief has asked the MP concerned not to attend parliamentary grounds while the investigation is ongoing.” “Until the investigation is complete, we will not comment further,” they said.
News of the arrest comes after widespread concerns about sexual harassment and misconduct in Westminster.
Last month, Neil’s ParishA Conservative MP and former chairman of the environmental, food and rural select committee, has resigned after admitting he viewed pornography while in the chambers of the House of Commons.
Imran Ahmad KhanThe Tory MP for Wakefield in West Yorkshire was also forced to resign in April after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in 2008. The 48-year-old, who became an MP in the polls general election of 2019, was convicted under Section 3 of the Sex Offenses Act of 2003.
Meanwhile, David Warburton, the Conservative MP for Somerton and Frome, was suspended from the party last month following allegations of misconduct. An independent congressional complaint and grievance plan investigation into the matter is underway.
Unions have called for tougher action against individuals accused of misconduct.
“This news comes just weeks after a congressman was found guilty of child molestation and is the latest in a series of arrests and convictions of politicians for sex crimes,” said Gary Graham, Trade union deputy secretary-general Prospect argued.
He added: “Ultimately what will parliament do to take its responsibility to its staff and visitors seriously and suspend access to the residence for MPs under criminal investigation? sex?”