Tory MP accused of rape has bail date extended to November as police investigation continues

Extension raises questions over whether MP will return to parliament after summer recess

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Sunday 16 August 2020 19:00

A Conservative MP accused of rape has had his bail date extended until November as a police investigation continues.

The change has raised questions over whether the former minister, in his 50s, will return to parliament when it returns from summer recess in two weeks.

The Conservative Party has been criticised for refusing to suspend the MP, after initially being approached by the complainant in April.

The man was arrested on 1 August after the police received allegations of rape and sexual assault in four separate incidents.

They are alleged to have occurred at locations in Westminster, Lambeth and Hackney between July 2019 and January this year.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: “A man in his 50s was arrested on 1 August on suspicion of rape, sexual assaults by penetration and touching and assault.

“His bail to return date has been extended to early November 2020. The investigation is being undertaken by the Met Central Specialist Crime, Complex Case Team.”

The man has not been officially identified and Scotland Yard said it could not give details of his bail conditions.

Labour has called for the MP to be suspended as a potential protective measures, after the Tories were accused of failing to take the allegations and safeguarding concerns seriously.

Claire Waxman, the London Victims Commissioner, said: “I advise some rape victims to talk to their MP if they’re dissatisfied in the way a case is handled.

"Now I have to think twice as I could be referring vulnerable victim to a rape suspect. If [the Conservative Party] won’t suspend, he must not be allowed contact with constituents."

A spokesperson for the Conservative chief whip, Mark Spencer, previously told The Independent: “The chief whip takes all allegations of harassment and abuse extremely seriously and has encouraged anybody who has approached him to contact the appropriate authorities, including parliament’s independent complaints and grievance scheme, which can carry out independent and confidential investigations.

“As this matter is now in the hands of police, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

The arrest came days after former Tory MP Charlie Elphicke was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault against two women in 2007 and 2016.

Elphicke had been suspended from the Conservative Party when the allegations were made in 2017, but the whip was restored the following year when there was a crucial confidence vote in the then prime minister, Theresa May.

The then-MP for Dover was suspended again after being charged in July 2019, and will be sentenced next month.

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