Police arrest Tory MP over rape and sex offences

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The politician, who is in his 50s, is being investigated for a series of alleged sex crimes between 2002 and 2009. The allegations also include “abuse of position of trust” and “misconduct in public office.” The arrest is another blow to the standing of politicians in Britain following various sexual misconduct allegations and the Partygate and Beergate accusations involving Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Ironically, Mr Johnson told the Cabinet today he wants a law and order crackdown, saying: “Crime, crime, crime is what we want to focus on. We want to see more rapists brought to justice.”

In relation to the arrest of the MP, a complaint was first made to the Metropolitan Police in January 2020, Scotland Yard said today.

The alleged offences are said to have been committed in London.

Following his arrest, the unnamed MP has been asked to stay away from Westminster while Scotland Yard inquiries continue.

It is understood the Conservatives will postpone a decision to remove the party whip from the MP until the conclusion of the investigation.

The decision provoked anger at Westminster, with the Prospect Union calling for the MP to be banned from attending Parliament.

The union, which represents hundreds of staff working in Parliament, claimed voluntary agreements to stay away from Westminster “do not work”.

It is believed many MPs are likely to be of the same opinion and will put pressure on senior Tories to suspend the arrested man from the party immediately.

Chris Heaton-Harris, the party’s chief whip, has asked the MP involved not to attend Parliament while the investigation is ongoing.

A statement from the whips’ office said: “The chief whip has asked that the MP concerned does not attend the Parliamentary estate while an investigation is ongoing.

“Until the conclusion of the investigation, we will not be commenting further.”

Scotland Yard said in a statement: “In January 2020, the Met received a report relating to alleged sexual offences having been committed between 2002 and 2009.

“The offences are alleged to have occurred in London.

“An investigation is ongoing, led by officers from Central Specialist Crime.

“A man, aged in his 50s, was arrested on suspicion of indecent assault, sexual assault, rape, abuse of position of trust and misconduct in public office. He remains in custody.”

The Yard stressed police do not identify the subjects of criminal investigations either by name or profession.

Victims of alleged sexual offences have life-long anonymity.

News of the arrest comes shortly after former Conservative MP Imran Ahmad Khan was found guilty of molesting a 15-year-old boy in 2008.

Khan, formerly Conservative MP for Wakefield, West Yorkshire, had attended Parliament while he was under investigation for sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy in 2008.

He was found guilty at London’s Southwark Crown Court earlier this month and is awaiting sentence.

Conservative MP David Warburton was suspended by the party in April following allegations of sexual harassment and cocaine use.

Earlier this month, Neil Parish resigned as a Conservative MP after he admitted he twice watched pornography on his phone in the House of Commons chamber.

Mr Parish, a farmer, claimed he accidently looked at a porn site while browsing for tractors.

Around 50 MPs have reportedly been referred to Parliament’s authorities over sexual misconduct allegations.

It is believed around 15 are active cases that are being probed by the Commons’ Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme.

Focus on crime, crime, crime, Boris Johnson tells his Cabinet

Boris Johnson has ordered a massive crackdown on crime following concerns violence and sex offences are soaring, writes Macer Hall – Political Editor.

The Prime Minister on Tuesday instructed all Cabinet ministers to ensure every Whitehall department comes up with measures to “make our streets safer.”

He insisted cutting offending was “integral” to the Government’s mission to revive the economy and “level up” the country.

“Crime, crime, crime is what we want to focus on — making our streets safer,” the Prime Minister told his weekly Cabinet meeting in Downing Street.

He also demanded drastic action to increase the number of convictions for rape following a surge in sex offences above pre-covid pandemic levels.

“We want to see more rapists brought to justice,” he said.

Official data released last month showed that numbers of violence and sexual offences recorded by police have rocketed over the previous nine months.

Robbery and theft has also increased since the covid lockdowns ended but remains below pre-pandemic levels.

Total crime was up by 18 percentlast year compared with 2019, according to the regular Crime Survey for England and Wales with fraud and computer offences soaring by 54 percent.

Mr Johnson told his ministers on Tuesday that while the Government was boosting police numbers more needed to be done to crack crime.

He signalled that tackling the issue will be crucial to Tory hopes of winning the next general election expected in 2024.

Mr Johnson said: “The crucial duty of our Government is to make our communities safer, which is what we are doing – that’s why we put, of the 20,000 police that we promised at the 2019 election, we’ve already put 13,576 on the streets.

“They are bringing down neighbourhood crime and that’s a great thing to see. But we’ve got more to do.”

County lines drugs gang will be “rounded up” by the Government’s “Project Adder” initiative, the Prime Minister said.

He claimed the scheme was “taking the criminals off the streets, stopping the deaths of young people from knife crime and gun crime.”

Mr Johnson told ministers: “What we’re also doing is making sure that we give everybody the confidence that we are on their side when it comes to the law and their experiences of crimes – particularly crimes of sexual and domestic violence – and we want to see more prosecutions for those who engage in such crimes.

“We want to see more rapists brought to justice.”

Mr Johnson was “pleased” by data showing progress was being made against crime and several ministers including Home Secretary Priti Patel were “working very, very hard” on the issue.

“This matters deeply to me. It matters to our government.

“It’s vital to every person, it’s vital to every woman and every girl in the country that we get this right and I want to see more progress on that,” he told ministers.

“But there’s another reason why it’s so vital to bring down crime by making sure that our streets are safe, which is integral for our project for uniting and levelling up.

“It is only when you have safe streets and you have safe communities, that you get the confidence of business to invest and drive jobs and growth and that it is absolutely critical now as we deal with the aftermaths of covid and we help people with their current costs and we take the economy through a difficult patch.”

Mr Johnson hailed the recent publication of the Home Office’s Beating Crime Plan aimed at cutting serious violent offences.

The Prime Minister also welcomed the recruitment of more staff to deal with serious sexual offences and the expansion of court capacity to reduce case backlogs.

He concluded: “Cutting crime is integral to our economic mission as well.

“Making our streets safer is absolutely vital.”

Ms Patel told the meeting that making streets safer was the responsibility of every Whitehall department.

She said that the Government backed the police to do their job and was ensuring officers had the strong leadership to secure the confidence of the public.

Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary Dominic Raab backed the crime crackdown.

He told the Daily Express: “My number one priority is cutting crime and making our streets safer.

“We are investing nearly half-a-billion-pounds in the criminal justice system to recover from the pandemic and deliver the swifter justice that victims deserve.

“Our approach is starting to pay off – rape convictions rose by 15 percent in the last quarter, the court backlog is coming down, we’ve increased the number of ex-offenders going quickly into jobs by almost half and we’re well on the way to delivering 20,000 more prison places by the middle of the decade.”

Data from the Ministry of Justice showed a 15 percent increase in the number of people convicted for rape offences in the last three months.

The department published Rape Action Plan aiming at increasing the number of cases reaching court to 2016 levels, reducing the number of victims withdrawing from the process and ultimately locking up more rapists.

Policing Minister Kit Malthouse told the Cabinet meeting “a great deal of progress” had been made on priority areas such as closing down county line drug gangs.

Around 4,0000 young people had been rescued from the control of drug king pins and areas of the country were now free of the gangs.

He said the Government was providing funding to expand Project Adder, which had been responsible for disrupting 700 organised crime groups.

We’ll never let women and girls down, says Priti Patel

Priti Patel on Tuesday vowed “none of us in this room will ever let women and girls down” as she urged police officers to root out “misconduct and corruption”, writes Michael Knowles – Home Affairs Editor.

The Home Secretary said more police officers and prosecutors will target rapists, sex attackers and violent thugs who abuse women and girls.

But she warned officers must also clamp down on misogynistic officers abusing their positions for sexual purposes.

Ms Patel warned: “The rise in cases of officers misusing social media or abusing their positions of trust for sexual purposes is extremely concerning. We have seen egregious examples in recent months.

“It is vital that police officers speak up when they witness misconduct by their colleagues, which is why two years ago we strengthened the duty on police officers to report wrongdoing.

“Hard-working, dedicated and decent police officers like you are dreadfully undermined by the intolerable behaviour of the worst among them.

“I know that it must hit you very hard, that there are some, a minority – who have abused the great privilege of being a police officer in such a sickening manner.

Hard-working, dedicated and decent police officers like you are dreadfully undermined by the intolerable behaviour of the worst among them

“Public confidence in the police could not matter more – you cannot do your jobs if consent and support break down, and I know that you want the public to feel safe and secure – indeed that’s why you chose this career.”

The Home Secretary said “one of the most disturbing set of crimes you deal with” is violence against women and girls.

She said: “I’m afraid it has been at the forefront of policing in the last 12 months is violence against women and girls.

“And dealing with this, of course, is our shared priority.

“None of us in this room will ever let women and girls down.

“We have a very significant commitment now through the rape review to do so much more in bringing the perpetrators of violent sexual abuse to justice.”

And Ms Patel said more officers will be focusing on crimes against women and girls to restore confidence after a horrific 12 months which has seen a number of high profile murders.

Sarah Everard was kidnapped, raped and murdered by serving police officer Wayne Couzens and Sabina Nessa was murdered on her own doorstep by a violent thug – a case which prompted renewed calls for police to take the safety of women more seriously.

Ms Patel added: “Having police officers and prosecutors with the right skills is absolutely crucial.

“And that is essential when it comes to managing cases, not just effectively, but sensitively and in the right way so that we can ensure that justice is served.

“So yes, this means increases in the number of police officers and prosecutors focusing on this area but also ensuring they have the right experience.”

But the Home Secretary stressed she is incredibly proud of the service.

She said: “Nobody does a harder job than the police or a better one than the police. And no-one does more, in my view, to make our country great.

“And nobody gives greater public service.

“I have nothing but pure respect and admiration and gratitude for all you do.”

Chief constables will be left to decide whether specials in their force will be authorised to carry the weapons – after they have completed the same training as full-time police constables and served for a minimum period.

The Taser, first used by forces in 2003, fires probes that deliver a high-voltage electric pulse, causing incapacitating muscle spasms.

Ms Patel said: ‘Human rights are not just for criminals, but the law-abiding majority.

“And that means standing squarely with the police.”

During a fiesty exchange, the Home Secretary was told to “put her money where her mouth is” when she was confronted by police over concerns about pay.

Answering questions after giving a speech at the event in Manchester, groans could be heard when Ms Patel told delegates the federation – which represents more than 130,000 officers from the rank of constable to chief inspector – had not been “at the table” recently for pay negotiations.

The body is among police organisations embroiled in a row with the Government over a pay freeze for officers.

Ms Knight, who said she worked in child protection as well as with vulnerable adults and has been working in the police for 23 years, asked Ms Patel if she would be able to “survive” on £1,200 or £1,400 a month.

After paying professional subscriptions and pension, she said she takes home £2,300 a month and works overtime twice a month to “make ends meet.” Because wages are measured before pension deductions, she does not receive any support apart from child family allowance, telling the conference: “Apart from that I’m on my own”.

Describing how she is paid “a couple of hundred pounds a month more than the workers in McDonald’s flipping burgers” and less than her “local manager at Lidl”, Ms Knight told how ahead of her most recent pay day she had to borrow £40 from her mother so she could put fuel in her car and buy food for her son’s school lunches “because I had no money left at the end of the month”.

She was met with applause when she asked: “I work … with the most vulnerable members of our community and I love my job.

“However, if the rate of interest goes up and I can’t pay my mortgage and I can’t pay the fuel, I’m not going to be able to continue to come to work.

“I went to see an accountant and the advice was leave the police, work for 22 hours a week and claim benefits and you will be better off. How can that be right?”

Ms Knight added: “I tell this story not because I’m here for sympathy, I just want to be heard. I stand here to represent myself and many people in the force that are like me.

“We are desperately struggling to do the job that we love and to make ends meet at home. So I need you to be on our team and to help us, to represent us … to get us fair pay.”

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