British Tory MP accused of sexual offences freed on bail

At least 56 British MPs, including three ministers, are currently being probed over allegations of sexual misconduct. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - British police said on Wednesday (May 18) they had released on bail a lawmaker from the ruling Conservative party the day after he was arrested on suspicion of multiple sexual offences, including rape.

London's Metropolitan police, who did not name the MP, said officers detained a man in his 50s following allegations of indecent assault, sexual assault, rape and other misconduct offences more than a decade ago.

"In January 2020, the Met received a report relating to alleged sexual offences having been committed between 2002 and 2009," the force said, adding they were alleged to have occurred in the British capital.

"He was taken into custody and has since been bailed pending further enquiries to a date in mid-June," it added.

A spokesman for the Conservatives' office dealing with party discipline said the MP concerned had been instructed not to attend Parliament or its various adjoining buildings while the probe continued.

The Conservatives will not decide whether to suspend the suspect from the parliamentary party until after the police probe has concluded, reports said.

The arrest is the latest in a series of scandal involving a British lawmaker, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Tories, in particular, embroiled in numerous controversies, several of a sexual nature.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said that she was "very, very concerned" about the allegations.

"It is worrying that we are seeing these appalling accusations again, about a parliamentarian," she told Sky News on Wednesday, adding that it was up to police to decide whether to name him.

Last month, it was revealed at least 56 MPs, including three ministers, are currently being probed over allegations of sexual misconduct by Parliament's own complaints office.

Conservative lawmaker Neil Parish resigned last month after admitting he had deliberately watched pornography on his mobile phone in the House of Commons chamber.

Another Tory MP, Imran Ahmad Khan, also quit Parliament in April following his conviction for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

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