UK Conservative Party suspends MP accused of rape | International

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The Palace of Westminster, the building that houses the two Houses of Parliament of the United Kingdom, begins to examine its conscience. The cases of sexual abuse, but also of lack of decorum, carried out by some deputies have revealed attitudes and practices that are far from exemplary. The leadership of the parliamentary group of the Conservative Party has ordered the sharp suspension of functions of one of its parliamentarians, who is being investigated by the London Metropolitan Police for alleged rape and sexual harassment. The case was advanced by the tabloid The Sun.

The identity of the person under investigation, who is around 50 years old, has not been revealed by law enforcement or parliamentary authorities. The purpose of this anonymity is to protect the identity of the victims while the investigation is ongoing. Before 2016, it was common practice for Parliament to publicly identify any MP under investigation for such serious crimes. Since then, the rule establishes that the identity will only be revealed if the criminal offense conflicts with the rules of parliamentary immunity or affects constitutional matters.

“The head of the parliamentary group has asked the deputy in question not to access the Westminster building while the investigation is taking place. We will not comment further until the investigation is complete,” a Conservative spokesman said.

The accusation focuses on events that occurred between 2002 and 2009. The parliamentarian was arrested on Tuesday, and has been released after paying bail. “He was arrested on suspicion of alleged indecent harassment, sexual harassment, rape, abuse of power and trust and misconduct in public office,” the London Metropolitan Police said in a statement. The complaint was filed in January 2020.

Truss: “The culture of the Chamber must change more”

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“I think the internal culture of the House of Commons has changed, and it still needs to change more,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said when asked about the case on LBC radio. “We need higher doses of professionalism, but that cannot be an excuse to tolerate such scandalous crimes,” Truss pointed out. The autonomy enjoyed by each deputy to hire their assistants and advisers, and to be both judge and party in the face of their possible labor complaints, has led many parliamentary representatives —especially women— to demand greater control of this staff by of the leadership of Parliament.

In 2018, in the heat of the #MeToo movement, the Independent Commission for Complaints and Grievances was established. Since then, 56 MPs have been charged and investigated for some form of sexual misconduct, including three Secretaries of State.

Last April, Conservative MP Imran Ahmad Khan was convicted of sexually abusing a 15-year-old minor in 2008. MP David Warburton, also a Conservative, was expelled from his parliamentary group for alleged sexual harassment and drug use, after that he revealed it Sunday Times.

Neil Parish, also MP toryresigned last month after two of her fellow members denounced how they had seen her enjoy a porn page on her mobile phone during parliamentary sessions.

“How much more is it going to take for Parliament to assume its responsibility to staff and visitors, and prevent access to all investigative deputies for crimes against sexual freedom?” Garry Graham asked in a statement. deputy general secretary of the Prospect union, one of the organizations that represents a greater number of civil servants and public servants.

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