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Boris Johnson defends not suspending senior Tory MP accused of rape

Boris Johnson today defended not suspending a senior Tory MP accused of rape, saying the party will ‘wait for the police to decide’.

Speaking about the case for the first time, the PM insisted the situation was being taken ‘extremely seriously’.

The former minister was arrested and bailed by police last week after allegations were made by an ex-Parliamentary researcher in her 20s. He denies the claims. Neither is being named for legal reasons.

The woman reportedly wants the ex-minister identified and suspended from the Tories, saying it would not put her own anonymity at risk.

Asked about the case during a visit to Warrington this afternoon, Mr Johnson told reporters: ‘I think it’s very, very important that we take all these cases extremely seriously and we will continue to do so. 

‘I think we’ve got to wait for the police to decide whether they want to make charges and take a decision on that basis.’   

The woman raised her allegations with Tory chief whip Mark Spencer in April but claims he did not take any action or encourage her to contact police.

It is understood Mr Spencer does not believe that a sexual assault was reported to him in their conversation, but acknowledges that she told him of abusive behaviour and threats while the pair were in a relationship.  He suggested that she take her allegations to the appropriate authority.

Mr Spencer appeared to suggest earlier this week that taking action against the politician could undermine the woman’s anonymity. He said the allegations – which are denied by the MP – were being taken ‘seriously’ but it was for the police to investigate. 

However, according to the Telegraph, the alleged victim told friends that she wanted the man named.

‘I didn’t work for this MP and in any case I have lifelong anonymity so there is no risk of me being ”outed” in the press.’   

The alleged victim reportedly said senior ministers ‘seem to care more about protecting the MP and the party than protecting victims and other women’.

The woman said: ‘I feel like the chief whip has never taken my allegations seriously or even cared. Since the news of the arrest the chief whip – or anyone from the party – has not contacted me at all, not to…offer support or anything.’

Claire Waxman, the victims’ commissioner for London, criticised the Prime Minister over the handling of the case earlier this week. 

She tweeted: ”Women must have the confidence that crimes, domestic violence and sexual abuse, are treated seriously’ said Boris Johnson last year. 

‘However, not suspending an MP accused of rape while investigations are ongoing conveys a different message.’

MPs have previously chosen to suspend themselves after being accused of wrongdoing. 

Conservative Nigel Evans gave up the whip and the deputy speaker role in 2013 as he faced allegations of sexual assault. 

He was later cleared and recently became deputy speaker again. 

On Friday police received allegations relating to four incidents in London. They said a man was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of rape. 

He has been bailed until mid-August. The MP is accused of coercing the woman into sex while they were in a relationship. 

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