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Former UK minister arrested on suspicion of rape

This article is more than 12 months old

LONDON: An MP and former minister from Britain's ruling Conservative Party has been arrested after a parliamentary aide accused him of rape, sexual assault and coercive control, according to reports Saturday.

A woman in her 20s reported to police she had been assaulted and forced to have sex, the Sunday Times newspaper reported. The woman was a former parliamentary employee, it said.

London's Metropolitan Police said it had received on Friday allegations relating to four separate incidents between July 2019 and January this year, Reuters reported.

The politician was not named but the police said in a statement that it had begun an investigation, AFP reported.

"A man in his 50s was arrested on Saturday, 1 Aug on suspicion of rape. He has been released on bail to return on a date in mid-August."

The MP had threatened to 'destroy her life', The Daily Mail quoted a friend as saying.

This included having her sacked from her job with a fellow Tory MP, if she ever went public.

The friend said she believed the woman, said to be a researcher, had been "coerced" into a relationship with the MP.

She said: "This was a controlling situation, where he would call her an 'ungrateful little b****'."

The Sunday Times newspaper said the allegations had been raised with a senior Conservative party official.

PRESSURE

The Daily Mail said the matter was reported to Tory chief whip Mark Spencer a month ago and it is likely to increase pressure on him on why he failed to take action for such a long time after he was told about the allegations.

Mr Spencer last night said the woman had reported "abusive behaviour and threats", but he does not believe there was any mention of sexual assault during the discussion, The Daily Mail reported.

A spokesman for the Conservatives, quoted by the Press Association, said: "We take all allegations of this nature extremely seriously. As this matter is now in the hands of the police it would be inappropriate to comment further."

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