How do you deal with an MP who is under investigation for rape?

This question has been plaguing the Tories' parliamentary group leadership since it was revealed that one of their MPs was arrested on Tuesday and released on bail on Wednesday.

The police are investigating the allegations of a man apparently also employed in politics, who has reported rape, sexual assault and abuse of office.

So far, the faction's leadership has decided not to reveal the suspect's identity, arguing that this would jeopardize the victim's anonymity.

Instead, the suspect was told to stay away from Parliament for the time being, prompting Tory MP Michael Fabricant to tweet, apparently in amusement,

Jochen Buchsteiner

Political correspondent in London.

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The Labor Party, which called on the Conservative Party to identify and throw out the suspect, was less amused.

"If I were a citizen of this MP's constituency, I would think I had a right to know," said Jess Phillips MP.

After all, nothing could stop the suspect from "seeing his voters in private circumstances, all alone".

Similar statements were made by employees in Parliament and a union spokesman.

This, in turn, reminded the independent Speaker of Parliament Lindsay Hoyle of the rule of law principle of the presumption of innocence.

As long as the current legal situation is in force, a member of Parliament also has the right to sit in it.

And Hoyle went one step further.

Knowing that the suspect is now known to most MPs, he warned them not to use their privilege in the House of Commons to accuse people by name without legal repercussions.

It would be "completely inappropriate," he said.

The privilege was most recently used by a member of parliament to identify Russian oligarchs who should be sanctioned for their close ties to President Vladimir Putin.

The sexual assaults are said to have taken place between 2002 and 2009.

The complaint dates from 2020. According to newspaper reports, it was filed by a man who is around 20 years younger than the suspect and who was in a relationship with him.

Some parliamentary group colleagues expressed surprise at the allegations against their colleague, who according to the police is "in his fifties".

The Conservative Party has been rocked by several cases in recent weeks.

MP David Warburton was expelled from the group after being investigated for sexual harassment and cocaine use.

MP Ahmad Khan resigned after being convicted of sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy.

Neil Parish MP, on the other hand, resigned after being spotted watching porn in the House of Commons.

Dozens of other MPs, including from other parties, are currently the subject of investigations by the parliamentary oversight authority.

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