LONDON — A British lawmaker was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of rape and different sexual assault offenses, based on British information media reviews, the newest in a string of sexual misconduct allegations in opposition to members of Parliament in current weeks.
London’s Metropolitan Police Service has confirmed that its officers arrested a person serving in public workplace over a grievance obtained two years in the past, however didn’t affirm his title or his occupation.
The arrest follows a number of incidents of misogyny and allegations of sexual misconduct in current weeks, and the prison conviction of a lawmaker, a slew of reviews that has renewed longstanding issues concerning the tradition of the Westminster Parliament.
Speculation concerning the arrested lawmaker’s id has swirled in Westminster, however no official assertion figuring out the suspect has been revealed. The workplace of the chief whip of the governing Conservatives, Chris Heaton-Harris, mentioned in a press release that one of many occasion’s lawmakers, a person, had been requested to not come to Parliament whereas the investigation continued.
The police mentioned in a press release that “a man, aged in his 50s, was arrested on suspicion of indecent assault, sexual assault, rape, abuse of position of trust and misconduct in public office.” The assertion added that an investigation was ongoing.
The authorities obtained a report in January 2020 “relating to alleged sexual offenses having been committed between 2002 and 2009,” in London, the police assertion mentioned.
The man was taken into custody however has since been conditionally launched, the police mentioned.
Members of Parliament started weighing in on the allegations on Wednesday. Liz Truss, the overseas secretary, informed Sky News that she was “concerned about the reports” however added, “Clearly this is a matter for the police.”
“It is worrying that we are seeing these appalling accusations again about a parliamentarian,” she mentioned.
The arrest comes on the heels of plenty of troubling incidents in Parliament which have shone the highlight on what look like pervasive problems with misogyny and sexual misconduct within the legislature.
The resignation in April of Neil Parish, a Conservative lawmaker who admitted to watching pornography twice whereas seated amongst his colleagues on the benches of the House of Commons, introduced requires change.
Days earlier than that, one other Conservative lawmaker, Imran Ahmad Khan, was expelled from the occasion after being discovered responsible of sexually assaulting an adolescent; he later resigned his seat.
Last month, The Sunday Times reported that some 56 lawmakers, together with three cupboard ministers and two “shadow” cupboard ministers from the opposition Labour Party, had been referred to an unbiased watchdog over sexual misconduct claims for the reason that monitor was created in 2018.
The Prospect union, which represents parliamentary staff, mentioned that the lawmaker who was arrested had not been barred from coming into the positioning, however added that there was a voluntary settlement in place with the Conservative Party that he would keep away.
The union has referred to as for the lawmaker to be barred till the conclusion of any investigation, a name it has additionally made in earlier circumstances.
Garry Graham, the deputy normal secretary of the union, mentioned that voluntary agreements didn’t work, including that Mr. Khan, the just lately convicted lawmaker, had attended Westminster whereas investigations had been ongoing regardless of agreeing to not.
“What will it take for Parliament to finally take its responsibility to its staff and visitors seriously and suspend access to the estate for parliamentarians under investigation for sexual offenses?” he mentioned. “Parliament has the same responsibilities towards its staff as any other workplace and it must live up to them.”
Rachel Reeves, a senior Labour Party lawmaker, informed the broadcaster ITV that the incidents “have to be a wake up call” about wrongdoing in Westminster.
“In any other workplace, after accusations like this they would be banned, and we do need to look again at not just the culture of Westminster but also about the rules because there is a duty of care to protect other people that work in the House of Commons,” she mentioned.
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