he policing minister has suggested the name of the MP arrested on rape allegations should be kept secret to protect those accused of sex crimes.
Kit Malthouse said there are “safeguarding and protection issues” for both alleged victims and perpetrators in such cases.
An unnamed Tory MP in his 50s has been accused of sexual assault offences as well as abuse of position of trust and misconduct in public office. He has been bailed until a date in mid-June.
The Conservative whips’ office has told the MP not to attend Parliament, but has decided not to immediately remove the whip, or name him, in a move it said was to protect any alleged victims.
However his name – as well as those of MPs misidentified – have been widely circulating on social media.
Mr Malthouse told Times Radio: “We have in the past had MPs who have been accused of not dissimilar crimes who have been found innocent or where no further action has applied and that puts enormous strain on them as individuals, as indeed it does on victims who are making accusations in those circumstances.
“We also need to be aware that the naming of perpetrators of crimes often can expose their victims to identification. And so you need to be sensitive in those circumstances to.
“Particularly where these crimes are of this very, sort of very personal and intimate nature. So there is a safeguarding and protection issue there on both sides, victim and perpetrator, that needs to be proportionate to the situation so it’s very hard to have a hard and fast rule.”
He added that the Government had to be “sensitive about the anonymity and particular crime types of the accused until the police are in a position to take further steps” or charge the MP.
The arrest comes amid renewed scrutiny of MPs’ behaviour following a number of incidents.
Earlier this month Tory MP Imran Ahmad Khan resigned his Wakefield seat when he was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.
He was defended by fellow Tory MP Crispin Blunt, who announced his intention to stand down at the next election following criticism.
Neil Parish quit as MP for Tiverton and Honiton after admitting to twice watching porn in the House of Commons chamber last month. A by-election will be held on June 23.
David Warburton was suspended from the Tory party earlier this year over sexual harassment and drug abuse allegations, reported by the Sunday Times. He is said to have insisted he had “enormous amounts of defence”, though faces sitting as an independent MP after having the Conservative whip removed.
Following reports of sexual misconduct by MPs several years ago, the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) was set up in Parliament.
More than 55 MPs have now reportedly been referred to the watchdog.