The Herald

Speaker warns MPS not to name politician arrested on suspicion of rape

- By Hannah Rodger

THE SPEAKER of the House of Commons has warned MPS not to try to name the politician accused of rape.

A Tory MP in his 50s was arrested on Tuesday accused of rape, sexual assault, indecent assault, abuse of a position of trust and misconduct in public office.

He has subsequent­ly been released on bail, with police investigat­ions ongoing.

Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons speaker, warned MPS of the seriousnes­s of the situation and said it would be “wholly inappropri­ate” to discuss the matter while the Met Police continue their investigat­ion.

The MP, who has yet to be named, has been asked to stay away from the Commons while the probe continues, according to the Tory whips’ office.

Some within parliament say the rules should be changed to ban MPS who are being investigat­ed for such serious crimes from coming to the Commons at all.

Sir Lindsay told MPS: “The House will know that a member has been arrested in connection with an investigat­ion into an allegation of very serious criminal offences.

“I understand that the member has confirmed he will not attend the House of Commons while the investigat­ion is ongoing.

“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.

“While the investigat­ion is ongoing I believe that it’d be wholly inappropri­ate for any further reference to be made to this matter in the House, including any attempt to name the member concerned.”

Meanwhile, Conservati­ve MP Michael Fabricant was chastised by party whips after tweeting something seemingly making light of the allegation­s.

He wrote that he was expecting a large turnout of Tory MPS at Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, to prove they are not the MP in question.

“I’ll be there!” the tweet by the long-standing MP added, followed by an emoji of a winking face sticking out its tongue.

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner labelled Mr Fabricant’s tweet “grotesque”, while Chris Bryant, who chairs the Commons Standards Committee, urged the MP to remove the post. “This shows absolutely shameful disregard for the alleged victims,” Mr Bryant responded.

“You should take this down immediatel­y.”

It is understood the allegation­s against the yet to be named MP relate to incidents which took place in London between 2002 and 2009.

Scotland Yard are said to have been investigat­ing the claims for two years before making an arrest.

In an updated statement yesterday, the force confirmed the man has “been bailed pending further enquiries to a date in mid June”.

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