Politics

Rape accuser ‘calls on chief whip to name Tory MP’ arrested at weekend



A former parliamentary aide has urged the Government’s chief whip to name a Conservative MP arrested on suspicion of rape at the weekend.

Mark Spencer, who is in charge of discipline and has the ability to suspend Tory MPs from the party, is facing growing pressure suspend the unnamed former minister.

Mr Spencer has insisted the allegations are being treated “very seriously”, but has argued that removing the whip would risk breaking the law by potentially identifying the complainant.

But the aide has said that because she did not work directly for the MP she does not believe there is a risk of her identity becoming known by his being named, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The paper quoted the aide, who claims to have post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of her alleged ordeal, as saying to a friend: “[Mr Spencer’s] defence today that he can’t name the MP because it would identify me is rubbish. I didn’t work for this MP and in any case I have lifelong anonymity so there is no risk of me being ‘outed’ in the press.”

The former minister, who is in his fifties, was interviewed under arrest at the weekend at an east London police station over four allegations of rape, sexual assault and coercive control. He has since been released on bail until a date later this month.

The accusations have been made by a former parliamentary aide (Daniel Hambury)

He is alleged to have assaulted the woman and forced her to have sex.

The aide also reportedly told friends she asked for a meeting with Mr Spencer on Sunday but had not received a reply.

Mr Spencer has said: “They are very serious allegations and we do take those allegations very seriously. I think it is down to the police to do that thorough investigation, not for the whips’ office to investigate this alleged crime, it is for the police and the authorities to do that.

“Once they’ve come to that conclusion, then we can assess where we’re at and the position that the MP finds themselves in. Of course, we’ve got to bear in mind the victim. We don’t want to do anything to identify the victim.”

On the request for a meeting at the weekend, a spokesperson told the Telegraph: “Now that a police investigation is under way, it would be completely inappropriate for the chief whip to discuss the case with the alleged victim. The matter is now in the hands of the police.”

The aide told ITV News on Monday that she was “devastated” that the MP she accuses of rape has not had the whip suspended, saying: “I feel like the chief whip has never taken my allegations seriously.”

There is a history of removing the whip from politicians accused of committing a crime. Former Tory MP Charlie Elphicke lost the whip in 2017 after being accused of sexual assaults. He was last week convicted by a jury of sex assults on two women.

The Labour Party has condemned the decision not to remove the whip from the MP in question, while Anne Milton, the former Tory deputy chief whip, has called him to give it up voluntarily while the investigation is carried out.

Downing Street has declined to say when the Prime Minister became aware of the allegations, and a spokesperson has said it would be inappropriate to comment while a police investigation was ongoing. The Standard has also approached Downing Street for comment.



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