MP accused of rape will not attend Commons

1 year ago 85

Published2 days ago

A Conservative MP accused of rape has agreed not to attend the House of Commons "for the foreseeable future", the Speaker's Office has said.

This follows the announcement that the MP is no longer on police bail but remains under investigation.

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle and Government Chief Whip Mark Spencer met to discuss the situation on Monday.

The offences are alleged to have occurred at addresses in London between July 2019 and January this year.

On 31 July, the Metropolitan Police Service received allegations relating to four separate incidents involving sexual offences and assault, and a man in his fifties was arrested the next day.

His party faced calls to suspend the MP, but Mr Spencer said it was for the police to investigate.

The MP agreed with Sir Lindsay and Mr Spencer at the time not to attend Parliament while his bail continued.

'Staff safety'

On Monday, the Met announced the MP had now been released under investigation, meaning he is no longer on bail but the inquiry is continuing.

Following the meeting between Sir Lindsay and Mr Spencer, a spokeswoman for the Speaker's Office said: "Mr Speaker has received assurances from the government chief whip that the Member continues to voluntarily agree not to attend the House of Commons for the foreseeable future.

"The Speaker, the House of Commons Commission and the House service continue to take the safety of staff and the parliamentary community as a whole very seriously."

The Met's advice states that officers should complete investigations "during the first period of detention" - usually up to three months - "wherever possible".

But it "will often be necessary to release suspects without bail, whilst the investigation continues", it adds.

The need "to protect victims and witnesses, and ensure public safety" must always be a "key consideration", the advice also says.

Over the summer the Conservative Party said the MP, a former minister, would instead work from home after his colleagues returned to Westminster following the recess.

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