Allegations that a senior Conservative MP carried out a series of sexual assaults, including rape, must be properly investigated to establish the facts before the party takes action, a government minister said.
The anonymous MP was reported to the Metropolitan Police by a group of Conservative MPs concerned about his behaviour, according to reports from The Sun and TalkTV.
The MP has not suspended the Conservative whip, although the party is reported to have commissioned an investigation by an independent law firm.
Scotland Yard said it had received reports of “serious sexual assault” and that officers were “making inquiries”.
Business Minister Kevin Hollinrake said it was important to follow due process and establish the facts before “rushing to judgement”.
He said the party would act in cases where there was “clear evidence” that wrongdoing had occurred.
“I’ve read the reports about that. I don’t know the facts behind this. I think we should establish the facts before rushing to judgement,” she told Times Radio.
“If there is evidence of crimes, then they must be reported to the authorities, investigations must be carried out.
“If there is any basis for those claims, then, of course, action must be taken. You have to follow the processes.”
Hollinrake said a report in The times that Tory whippers were warned some years ago about the MP – although the allegations at the time did not include rape or assault – was “a concern”.
“You have seen in the past that we have been willing to suspend people and report those matters to the relevant authorities when there is clear evidence of wrongdoing,” he said.
“That is the correct way to approach this instead of jumping to conclusions based on a newspaper report. We have a presumption of innocence in this country.
“We must uphold that presumption of innocence because if we don’t there are dire consequences of that. We must not take the blame before the proper process has been carried out.”
In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said: “On 28 October, police received allegations of aggravated sexual assault which reportedly took place on unknown dates at undisclosed locations.
“The reports were submitted through a third party. Officials are investigating these allegations.”