Tuesday 20 August 2019

Leadsom did not act when told of Tory rape claims

Palace of Westminster. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Palace of Westminster. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Helena Horton

Andrea Leadsom was told that police were conducting a criminal investigation after a senior Conservative was reported for an allegation of rape but did not take any further action.

A female Tory activist has revealed she reported the allegation of rape and concerns about the "toxic" culture in Westminster to David Natzler, the clerk of the House of Commons.

She was led to believe that her concerns about the alleged attack would be passed to Ms Leadsom, the leader of the House of Commons, and Gavin Williamson, the then chief whip.

However, she was left feeling "worthless" after neither contacted her to discuss her allegations and there was no follow-up from parliamentary authorities.

Ms Leadsom initially denied the rape allegation had been formally "referred" to her. However, 'The Telegraph' reported she was informed by Mr Natzler that police were examining "criminal allegations".

She was not told the name of either the victim or the alleged attacker, and said she did not take any further action because of the ongoing police investigation.

A spokesman for Ms Leadsom said: "The clerk did raise to the leader of the house that there were allegations that were being dealt with as a criminal matter. It was not appropriate for her to take any action because it was being dealt with as a criminal matter."

Ms Leadsom played a key part in the downfall of Michael Fallon after informing Downing Street that he had made inappropriate sexual comments to her. He subsequently resigned as defence secretary.

Mr Williamson has since been promoted to defence secretary. He has insisted that none of the allegations were referred to him.

The alleged victim told the 'Victoria Derbyshire' programme on BBC One that she was raped by "someone senior to me in the Conservative party".

She said: "During the attack I remember the room disappearing behind me and thinking I was going to die. ​When he left the next day I was at the police station within an hour."

With the case due to go to trial, the alleged victim decided to raise the alleged rape and her concerns about the culture in the Commons with Mr Natzler.

The man accused of rape, who was not an MP, strongly denied the allegation.

The case was later dropped after an independent review of the evidence.

Irish Independent

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