The Conservative Party is refusing to suspend an MP reportedly arrested on suspicion of rape. The decision to delay suspension has elicited sharp rebukes from opposition parties.
Justifying the decision, a spokesperson for the Conservatives whips’ office said: “These are serious allegations and it is right that they are investigated fully … The whip has not been suspended”.
"This decision will be reviewed once the police investigation has been concluded", the whips’ office added.
According to the Sunday Times, the rape allegations against the former Tory minister have been made by an ex-parliamentary employee.
The accused MP, who is reportedly in his 50s, was arrested on August 01 and has since been bailed by the Metropolitan Police.
For their part, the Met Police have said the allegations center on four separate incidents which allegedly took place between July 2019 and January 2020.
The Tories’ inaction on the matter was condemned as “shocking” by the Shadow Minister for Domestic Violence and Safeguarding, Jess Philips.
"In any other organization, were this police investigation to be going on, somebody would be suspended while the investigation was taking place", Phillips told Times Radio.
Meanwhile Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran (who has Palestinian ancestry) told Sky News: "Given the seriousness of these allegations and that a suspension, in a workplace or anywhere else, is actually a neutral act ... I would urge [the Conservative whips' office] to think again on that decision”.
"But more broadly I think we need to acknowledge the bravery of those who have come forward to make these allegations, to do that against an MP, especially if they are staff, it's very very difficult", Moran added.