Oliver Dowden denies cover-up of rape allegations against Conservative MP

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The Deputy Prime Minister has denied the Conservative Party covered up multiple allegations of rape against an MP.

Oliver Dowden insisted the party had “zero tolerance” for sexual misconduct, following claims that a former Tory chairman contacted the police after the party allegedly failed to act against the individual.

According to the Mail on Sunday, Sir uncovered the scandal when he is claimed to have found the party had paid for one of the alleged victims to receive private medical care at a hospital.

Mr Dowden, himself a former Conservative chairman, told Sky News: “Any allegation of sexual misconduct I take extremely seriously and the Conservative Party has zero tolerance for sexual misconduct.

“We have an independent complaints mechanism that investigates any allegations.

“The Mail on Sunday, as far as I can tell, doesn’t contain any details of the persons involved. So there’s a limit to what I can say further than that… we take any allegations exceptionally seriously.”

‘Five victims’

In a letter also said to have been signed by former chief whip and a Downing Street official, Sir Jake claimed the MP had been allowed to continue offending after the alarm had been raised.

Writing shortly after leaving his job as Tory chairman under Liz Truss last year, he said: “We are aware that this matter has been ongoing for over two years.

“We also believe there are up to five victims of [the MP] and that the failure of others to act has enabled [him] to continue to offend and to victimise women.”

He continued: “This is not something we are prepared to see continue and collectively we have therefore raised the issue with both you and the Speaker’s Office in the House of Commons seeking an immediate police investigation.”

A report prepared by the No 10 official, also seen by the newspaper, warned that the party could be criminally liable because it allegedly handled the case so badly.

Sexual misconduct accusations

It marks the latest in a string of sexual misconduct accusations involving Conservative MPs. In October, former minister Peter Bone was suspended from the Commons after a claim he exposed himself to a staff member was upheld by an independent parliamentary panel.

Crispin Blunt, the former prisons minister and MP for Reigate since 1997, was interviewed by the police over an alleged rape and possession of controlled substances just days later.

In the same month, Tamworth fell to Labour in the by-election after the resignation of Chris Pincher, the former deputy chief whip who was found to have groped two men in a private members’ club.

All three men deny the claims against them. Mr Blunt claims to be the victim of extortion.

Imran Ahmad Khan, the former Wakefield MP, was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy last year, making him the first sitting member of Parliament to be convicted on child sex offences.

Mr Dowden denied there was a cultural issue at Westminster, saying: “I don’t think there’s something wrong about our Parliament, and the vast majority of people in Parliament are there to serve their constituents and to serve the nation.

“Now, in respect of a very small number of cases, it’s important robust action is taken.

“And indeed, if there are allegations, I would urge anyone to go straight to the police. These are criminal matters and they should be investigated.”

Sir Jake, who declined to give a comment to the Mail on Sunday, has been approached for comment by The Telegraph, as has Wendy Morton and a representative for the Conservative Party.

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