It is “shocking” that the Conservative Party has not suspended an MP under investigation over alleged rape, Labour frontbencher Jess Phillips has said.

Ms Phillips’s intervention will increase pressure on Boris Johnson to act over the arrest of the former minister, who was taken into custody on Saturday.

The arrest came after a woman in her 20s accused him of rape, sexual assault, and coercive control, according to The Sunday Times.

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The abuse is alleged to have taken place last year and led to the woman going to hospital.

Ms Phillips, who is Labour’s shadow minister for domestic violence and safeguarding, told Times Radio: “In any other organisation, were this investigation to be going on, this police investigation, somebody would be suspended while the investigation was taking place.

“I find it shocking this morning, the news that the Conservative Party have decided not to withdraw the whip in this case.”

Ms Phillips noted that former Tory MP Charlie Elphicke had the Conservative whip restored while still under investigation for sexual offences in an unrelated case, on which he was found guilty this week.

And she compared it to the treatment of long-standing Conservative MP Julian Lewis, who lost the whip after successfully contesting a vote for chairmanship of the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee against the prime minister’s preferred candidate Chris Grayling.

“I have to say it sends a terrible message out from Westminster that there is still some people who are afforded protection,” she said.

“Last week the Conservative Party took away the whip in seconds from Julian Lewis for winning a democratic vote completely legitimately, and now this morning, nothing.”

She said that she and other MPs had raised concerns with Tory whips about Elphicke and been told “until the police do anything, what do you expect me to do?”

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“What I expect people to do is to take into account the safeguarding of the other people who work in Westminster, the safeguarding of young political activists, the kind of people who have hopes and aspirations which can be easily exploited.

“Pending a police investigation for a sexual crime, I think it is only right that the whip is withdrawn.”

Scotland Yard confirmed it had launched an investigation.

A spokesperson said: “On Friday, 31 July, the Metropolitan Police Service received allegations relating to four separate incidents involving allegations of sexual offences and assault.

“These offences are alleged to have occurred at addresses in Westminster, Lambeth and Hackney between July 2019 and January 2020.

“The Met has launched an investigation into the allegations.

“A man in his 50s was arrested on Saturday, 1 August on suspicion of rape. He has been released on bail to return on a date in mid-August.”

The allegations were reportedly previously raised with Tory Chief Whip Mark Spencer, and the complainant also spoke to him, but no action was taken.

According to the PA news agency, Mr Spencer advised the woman to make a formal complaint to the authorities who would be able to investigate the claims.

A spokesman for Mr Spencer said: “The Chief Whip takes all allegations of harassment and abuse extremely seriously and has strongly encouraged anybody who has approached him to contact the appropriate authorities, including Parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme, which can formally carry out independent and confidential investigations.”

A Conservative Party spokesman said: “We take all allegations of this nature extremely seriously. As this matter is now in the hands of the police it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

Also speaking on Times Radio, cabinet minister Robert Jenrick was asked whether he would like to see the MP suspended from the Tory whip.

He replied: “Well, we need to take allegations of this nature very seriously and I’m confident that the party is and will do.”

Mr Jenrick added: “I’ve read the accusations in the newspapers this morning but I don’t know more than you do in that respect. These are very serious allegations and they should be investigated. They’re in the hands of the police so I don’t think I can comment any more than that. I know this is being handled by the Chief Whip who is in contact with the Member of Parliament in question and I’m sure they’ll take all the steps that are required as further information comes to light.”

Tory MP Douglas Ross, who is standing for leadership of the party in Scotland, told the station: “These are extremely serious allegations and they have to be investigated thoroughly.

“I did see further comments from the Chief Whip’s office that they weren’t aware of the magnitude of the allegations. I can’t explain anything further, I wasn’t party to any of these discussions but clearly they must be investigated thoroughly and that’s clearly happening with the Met Police.”

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