Conservative MP Michael Fabricant has been condemned for making a “shameful” joke about one of his colleagues being accused of rape.
The MP for Lichfield appeared to make gentle of the accusation after the Metropolitan Police revealed that that they had detained an unnamed man in his 50s on suspicion of rape and sexual assault offences.
Tory chief whip Chris Heaton-Harris has informed the MP in question to steer clear of parliament, however has not suspended the celebration whip.
“I am expecting a strong turnout of Conservative MPs at PMQs today,” Mr Fabricant tweeted in jest on Wednesday.
He added: “Not only to demonstrate their strong support for Boris! BUT also to prove they are NOT the one told by the Chief Whip to stay at home. I’ll be there!”
Labour MP Chris Bryant led the outraged response on Twitter, telling Mr Fabricant: “This shows absolutely shameful disregard for the alleged victims. You should take this down immediately.”
The Tory cupboard minister Simon Hart additionally described the feedback as “idiotic” and “insensitive”, telling BBC Politics Live: “It attempts to make light of a really serious situation – I despair when I read stuff like that”.
Labour’s Charlotte Nichols mentioned one of the grimmest issues about working in Westminster “the fact people like Fabricant here trivialise these as a laughing matter or quirky bit of gossip complete with emoji.”
The Independent understands that the Conservative whips’ office have spoken to Mr Fabricant over the “inappropriate” tweet.
Mr Fabricant later added: “No-one is making light of rape or assault. Far from it. But those who want to read something into a comment will contrive to do so whatever. They are professional offence takers”.
The MP arrested on suspicion of rape and sexual assault offences has now been launched on bail pending additional enquiries by Scotland Yard.
In an up to date assertion on Wednesday, the Met police mentioned the person has “been bailed pending further enquiries to a date in mid-June”, including: “An investigation is ongoing.”
It is known the Tories is not going to decide on whether or not the suspect has the whip suspended till after the police investigation is concluded.
Asked why the whip was not being eliminated, the prime minister’s press secretary, who informed reporters on Wednesday Mr Johnson was “shocked” by the allegations, mentioned: “I appreciate there will be a lot of questions on this topic but while there is an ongoing investigation I hope you will understand that it won’t be appropriate for me to comment on that specific question.
“It is a matter for the whips. You will have seen they have commented on this in terms of a decision on the whip being reviewed once the investigation has concluded.”
However, the Prospect union, which represents tons of of workers working within the parliament, mentioned firmer motion is required by the celebration.
Deputy normal secretary Garry Graham mentioned: “What will it take for parliament to finally take its responsibility to its staff and visitors seriously and suspend access to the estate for parliamentarians under investigation for sexual offences?”