Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has been urged to commission an investigation into claims the Conservative Party failed to properly deal with allegations of rape against one of its MPs.
It comes after it was reported that Sir Jake Berry, a former Conservative Party chairman, told police that an internal “failure” to act on allegations of rape allowed an unnamed MP to “continue to offend”.
According to a copy of a letter obtained by the Mail On Sunday (MoS), Sir Jake told police he found out about the alleged assaults when he discovered the Tories had covered the cost of treatment for one of the supposed victims at a private hospital.
Liberal Democrat chief whip Wendy Chamberlain told the Daily Mail: “These reports are deeply disturbing to read.
“Nobody is above the law or reprimand for serious crimes such as those reported.
“For that reason, the Prime Minister and Conservative Party chairman must launch an investigation into this.”
Anneliese Dodds, the Labour Party chairwoman, told the newspaper: “These allegations are deeply concerning and extremely serious.
“It is of the utmost importance that this is thoroughly investigated by the Conservative Party.”
Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden, also a former Tory chairman, told broadcasters he was not aware of the allegations and did not know who the alleged culprit was.
He told the BBC on Sunday: “I don’t recognise in any form the idea that we covered up.”
But Mr Sunak’s deputy later said he could not rule out that the party might have paid for treatment for an alleged victim.
He told Times Radio: “I’m not denying that it could be the case that those payments were made, but it is not something that I authorised or (was) part of as chairman of the Conservative Party.”
Sir Jake’s letter, seen by the MoS, suggests that an unnamed MP had assaulted as many as five people with little to no consequence, with some allegations including several claims of rape.
The MP has not been named but, as per the letter, was able to continue in their role in Parliament after the rapes and assaults occurred.
Sir Jake was party chairman during Liz Truss’s brief tenure as Tory leader and prime minister last year.
It is reported Sir Jake, whose office has been contacted by the PA news agency for comment, wrote the letter shortly after leaving the chairman’s job in October 2022.
The MoS published extracts from the letter, which Sir Jake and former chief whip Wendy Morton reportedly co-signed.
It was reportedly sent to police stating that the pair became aware of a series of allegations against an MP, referred to as X, when they took up their new roles within the party.
An excerpt from the letter reads: “There may have been five victims of X — who have been subject to a range of offences including multiple rapes.”
The letter adds that the “failure of others to act has enabled X to continue to offend”, and the claims of rape and assault had been going on for more than two years.
Veteran Conservative MP and former Brexit secretary David Davis told GB News that any cover up of rape claims would be a “criminal offence in its own right” and would be a “matter for the police”.
The Conservative Party said it would not be commenting.
Mr Dowden told broadcasters the allegations were “very serious” and that the party “takes them exceptionally seriously”.