Boris Johnson has expressed his shock that a Conservative MP is under police investigation after being accused of rape and sexual assault offences.
The Metropolitan Police said the unnamed man in his 50s, who was bailed pending further inquiries on Wednesday, was also detained on suspicion of indecent assault, abuse of position of trust and misconduct in public office.
Downing Street said the Prime Minister was first told of the news about the allegations on Tuesday.
But No 10 would not comment on why the Tory whip had not been removed following the police investigation becoming public knowledge.
Questions have arisen over why the MP in question hasn’t been named by the police.
Gideon Benaim, a partner and leading reputation and privacy lawyer at Simkins and the lawyer who acted for Sir Cliff Richard in his ground-breaking privacy case against the BBC, has sought to clarify the situation in light of the news.
Here’s what he had to say:
“It is now a well-established law that a person under investigation should not be named before charge unless there is an ‘exceptional’ reason to do so. The College of Policing Guidance, as well as numerous legal cases (up to and including in the Supreme Court), confirm this position as the starting point.
“The police could name the suspect in limited circumstances only if there exists what they believe to be a justified ground. Clearly, they don’t currently believe that there are any such grounds.
“The media could also risk doing so, as the legal position is just a starting point. However, the stakes would be very high and unless there are further developments they should refrain, even if there is speculation about the identity.
“Legal proceedings are also ‘active’, so it is important not to do or say anything that might jeopardise the right to a fair trial.”