- REUTERS/Hannah Mckay
- Andrea Leadsom accused of failing to act on a rape allegation made against a senior Conservative earlier this year. Young female activist says she was raped by a senior Tory in her own home over the summer. Prime Minister Theresa May announces plans for new independent body to handle allegations.
LONDON – House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom has been accused of failing to act on a rape allegation made against a senior member of the Conservative Party earlier this year.
Leadsom has admitted that she was informed by parliamentary authorities in August that police were conducting a criminal investigation into a senior Tory accused of raping a female party activist, according to reports.
On Monday the Conservative activist, who for legal reasons cannot be named, told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show that she was raped in her home by a more senior member of the party last summer.
She explained that she had informed Commons clerk David Natzler and then-chief whip Gavin Williamson and had expected either Williamson or Leadsom to contact her about the allegation, but received no correspondence.
A spokesperson for Leadsom confirmed that the Commons leader had been informed of the allegation but decided to take no further action as it was a matter for the police.
“The clerk did raise to the Leader of the House that there were allegations that were being dealt with as a criminal matter,” Leadsom’s spokesperson said in a statement.
“It was not appropriate for her to take any action because it was being dealt with as a criminal matter.”
- REUTERS/Mary Turner
The female activist added that she also raised concern about the “heavy drinking, sex-driven culture” within Westminster when she reported the incident to parliamentary authorities.
Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday announced plans to establish an independent grievance procedure after a meeting with fellow party leaders in Westminster.
Westminster is engulfed in a growing sexual harassment scandal after a dossier of allegations against almost 40 Tory MPs circulated by parliamentary staff was leaked to newspapers at the end of last month.
A number of people have since then come forward with new accusations of sexual misconduct involving MPs and staff from Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats.
Tory MP Michael Fallon resigned as defence secretary last week following accusations of sexual misconduct by female journalists Julia Hartley-Brewer and Jane Merrick. First Secretary of State, Damian Green, is under pressure to step aside amid an investigation into alleged inappropriate behaviour towards a young female activist.
However, speaking at the CBI’s annual conference yesterday, May refused to say whether she was made aware of allegations of sexual misconduct before the scandal was first reported by the British press.
The prime minister dodged the question of whether she can “hand on heart” say she wasn’t aware of any allegations concerning Tory MPs before they were reported by the British press.
She also revealed that a number of allegations have been raised with her that have not yet been made public.
“Obviously what has happened over the last week or so is stories have appeared in the press. A number of issues were raised with me that didn’t make it to the press,” May said. “As you have seen, action has been taken.”
“A number of people have been referred to the Conservative Party’s grievance procedure and arrangements that we have put in place, and a number of people have been referred to the Cabinet Secretary.”