UK Tory Lawmaker Blunt Says He Was Arrested Over Rape Allegation

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(Bloomberg) -- A veteran Member of Parliament in Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s UK Conservative Party said he was arrested in connection with a rape allegation that he denies.

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Crispin Blunt, an MP since 1997, said his arrest on Wednesday came three weeks after he was first questioned by police over the allegations. “I remain ready to cooperate fully with the investigation that I am confident will end without charge,” he wrote Thursday on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter.

Without naming Blunt, police said in a statement a man in his 60s was arrested Wednesday “on suspicion of rape and possession of controlled substances.” He was released “on conditional police bail pending further enquiries.”

While Blunt hasn’t been charged, it’s the latest example of a sitting Tory MP facing allegations of sexual misconduct. That threatens to undermine Sunak’s pledge on taking office just over a year ago to restore integrity to politics.

The House of Commons voted Wednesday to suspend Peter Bone, who had been ejected from the Parliamentary Tory party after Parliament’s ethics panel found he bullied an aide and committed one act of sexual misconduct against him. Bone denied the allegations.

That raised the prospect of another damaging special election after Sunak’s party suffered a string of recent defeats in seats with similarly large Tory majorities. Some 10% of voters in Bone’s seat would need to sign a “recall” petition to trigger one.

It’s too early to say whether the probe into Blunt will lead to a by-election: Another unnamed Tory MP was arrested in May 2022 on suspicion of rape, but has not been charged or publicly identified, and remains a lawmaker.

Blunt represents the district of Reigate in Surrey, south of London, where he won a 34% majority in the most recent general election in 2019. His numeric majority of 18,310 is smaller than those in in Mid Bedfordshire, Tamworth and Selby and Ainsty — seats that the Tories lost in special elections this year.

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