The 63-year-old MP for Reigate has now had the whip suspended by the Conservatives and he has been asked to stay away from the parliamentary estate.
After reports of the arrest of an unnamed Conservative MP first emerged on Thursday evening, Mr Blunt issued a statement on Twitter/X vowing to clear his name.
The MP for Reigate said he will “co-operate fully” with the ongoing investigation and is “confident” that he will not be charged. He claimed that he had initially been interviewed by police on Wednesday after he reported an alleged extortion.
“It has been reported that an MP was arrested yesterday in connection with an allegation of rape,” Mr Blunt wrote. “I am confirming that MP was me.”
Mr Blunt said: “The fact of the arrest requires a formal notification of the speaker and then my chief whip. I have now been interviewed twice in connection with this incident, the first time three weeks ago, when I initially reported my concern over extortion. The second time was earlier this morning under caution following arrest.”
“The arrest was unnecessary as I remain ready to cooperate fully with the investigation that I am confident will end without charge. I do not intend to say anything further on this matter until the police have completed their inquiries,” the MP added.
A Surrey police spokesman told The Independent: “We can confirm a man was arrested yesterday morning [25 October] on suspicion of rape and possession of controlled substances. He has been released on conditional police bail pending further enquiries.”
Cabinet minister Gillian Keegan insisted that there is no “cultural issue” among Tory MPs following a series of suspensions. The education secretary said Rishi Sunak has been “clear about high standards” and “always follows due process” when asked about the arrest of Mr Blunt.
“Due to the serious nature of the allegations... he’s had the whip suspended, but the police are involved now so beyond that it’s not really appropriate for me to comment any further,” she told Times Radio.
Asked whether there was a wider cultural problem among Tory MPs, Ms Keegan said: “No, I certainly don’t see a cultural issue among Conservative MPs. I see individual incidents which are all investigated as such.”
Mr Blunt has been the MP for Reigate, Surrey since 1997. Last year he announced he would not be standing for the Conservatives at the next election.
He joined the army aged 18 for officer training at Sandhurst, serving in the 13th/18th Royal Hussars until 1990. He left the army to join the world of politics, though failed to get elected as an MP in West Bromwich East in 1992.
He went on to serve as Malcolm Rifkind’s special adviser during Mr Rifkind’s terms as defence secretary and then foreign secretary, between 1993 and 1997. He was elected as Conservative MP for Reigate on 1 May 1997.
In 2010, while he was prisons minister, he announced he was splitting from his wife Victoria, revealing he had told his family that he had “decided to come to terms with [my] homosexuality”.
A statement from his office at the time said that there was no third party involved and asked the media to respect his family’s privacy. The couple have one daughter and one son.
He has served as opposition spokesperson for Northern Ireland, shadow minister in the Department of Trade and Industry, opposition whip and shadow minister for national security.
Mr Blunt’s arrest is the latest in a string of allegations involving sitting Conservative MPs, dealing another damaging blow to Rishi Sunak and his vow to get tough on sleaze.
Former Tory MP Peter Bone was suspended on Wednesday for six weeks for bullying and sexual misconduct against a staff member. MPs approved the lengthy sanction against the MP for Wellingborough, who has been sitting as an independent since losing the Conservative whip.
In September, Tory whip Chris Pincher resigned from his government role after allegations that he had groped two people while drunk.
A standards committee upheld allegations Mr Pincher “groped” two men at London’s exclusive Carlton Club while he was the Conservative deputy chief whip, in a scandal that hastened Boris Johnson’s downfall.
In May 2022, it emerged that a Tory MP in his 50s had been arrested on suspicion of indecent assault, sexual assault, rape, abuse of position of trust and misconduct in public office.
The Tory whips’ office said at the time that the MP had been asked not to “attend the Parliamentary estate while an investigation is ongoing”. The latest extension to his bail is to mid-February.
Last December, another senior Conservative MP was reported to the police over allegations they committed rape and a string of sexual assaults. The MP was reported to the Metropolitan Police by a group of colleagues, themselves Tory MPs.
And a Conservative MP was arrested on suspicion of rape in 2020. He was never identified and police took no further action after an investigation.
The Prospect and FDA unions representing Westminster staff both called for a vote to automatically exclude MPs under investigation for violent and sexual offences from accessing the parliamentary estate.
Mike Clancy, general secretary of the Prospect, said: “How many more cases like this will it take for action to be taken to protect staff and visitors on the parliamentary estate?”
The FDA’s Dave Penman also called for a vote so MPs can “recognise the responsibility they have to protect the staff and visitors”.