The speculation game has begun this morning after the Murdoch Sunday Times revealed “Tory ex-minister arrested over rape”, well, allegations of rape, anyway. This quickly made its way to the Mail on Sunday, where it became “Ex-minister is facing devastating claims from young Commons aide … TORY MP QUIZZED BY POLICE OVER SEX ATTACKS”.has told “A former Conservative minister has been arrested after a woman accused him of rape, sexual assault and coercive control, it was reported last night. The Metropolitan police confirmed they had launched an investigation into four alleged incidents between July 2019 and January 2020 at different locations in London. They said ‘a man in his 50s’ was taken into custody early yesterday and was still in a police station in east London last night”.
There was more. “He faces allegations from a woman who reportedly worked on the parliamentary estate that he abused her on several occasions. She alleges that the MP assaulted her, forced her to have sex, and left her so traumatised that she had to go to hospital, according to the claim”. Did she report this to anyone?
“The Sunday Times reported that a fellow Conservative MP first raised the woman’s allegation with Mark Spencer, the Tory chief whip, and Jacob Rees-Mogg, the leader of the House of Commons, after speaking to the alleged victim a month ago. The Press Association said that Spencer had advised her to make a formal complaint”.
Having put a few clues out there, and by doing so implying that our free and fearless press already knows the name in the frame, the inevitable guessing game has started. To no surprise at all, there are rather a lot of Tory MPs in their 50s who could be called “ex-ministers”, some better known, and indeed more notorious, than others.
Yes, there is the possibility that the Tory Party, and in particular the chief whip and leader of the Commons could have acted rather more swiftly, given that the latest of the alleged incidents happened in January this year, and an arrest was only effected yesterday. But that is no reason to name the ex-minister before the cops are good and ready.
You want the alleged victim to get justice? Of course you do. You want the possibility of seeing a Tory MP get put on trial and then put away? You may also like that idea. But neither outcome will be possible if the process is prejudiced and the suspect is able to argue that his rights to a fair trial have been compromised.
That’s why all should be patient. In the meantime, do not name names. PLEASE.