Jess Phillips: This Is Why The Tory MP Should Be Named

As women's charities and unions call for the rape suspect to be suspended, the Labour MP says, 'It’s like the Dominic Cummings saga all over again - one rule for them and one rule for everyone else.'


by As told to Anna Silverman |
Updated on

This weekend, we found out a former Tory minister has been arrested after a woman in her twenties accused him of rape, sexual assault and coercive control. The Conservative MP was taken into custody on Saturday and then released on bail until later this month… but that doesn’t mean he’s been suspended from working in the House of Commons for the time being. Oh noo.

Why not? That’s a very good question and it’s outrageous he hasn’t been. But the Conservative Party’s logic is that if they suspend him, it will identify the man.

For the record: there's NO law that states the accused in these cases has anonymity. There is anonymity for the alleged victim, who has stated she is devastated he's not been suspended. So all those saying it would identify her - you don't speak for her, and it wouldn't.

That his whip hasn’t been removed sends a terrible message – that this kind of crime doesn’t matter. If this was any other workplace this person would have to be suspended pending an investigation. Imagine sending your child to school knowing a teacher under investigation for rape was still allowed to work?

My concern at the heart of all of it is, firstly, for the two young women who work for me in Westminster; how am I meant to protect them if others aren’t taking part? I’m also concerned for the vulnerable people I see in my constituency everyday; this kind of thing needs to be taken very seriously. It’s not just because it sends a terrible message - that they don't believe people who come forward - but also because there's a genuine safeguarding principle that teachers, police, nurses, everyone else has to follow, so why don’t MPs? I don't know why it's one law for us and one law for everyone else. It’s like the Dominic Cummings saga all over again.

I’m not even particularly interested in him being named, but I strongly believe his constituents have a right to choose whether they want to seek services from him, especially vulnerable constituents.

Powerful people should be protecting victims, not each other.

I know from an interview she did she’s devastated he hasn’t been suspended; she feels completely and utterly like she hasn’t been listened to. It’s a complete excuse saying that it is to protect her identity.

Nobody thinks that trial by media is a good idea. I certainly don't. But what I have found working with victims, especially those who try and take on the powerful, be that politicians or Harvey Weinstein, is that they try and go through all of the reasonable options that have been laid out to them first, and nobody listens to them. And that is why ends up in the newspapers.

A member of the general public wouldn't have that same protection if they were accused of this. They would be named as soon as they are accused. there is a public interest and a public safety issue in this particular case.

The spin I've heard coming out of Conservative Party headquarters today, pretending to care about the victim, is ridiculous, when I very much doubt any of them have asked her for her opinion. It seems clear she wanted him suspended when she spoke to the Chief Whip.

Jess Phillips: ‘Dominic Cummings Is Wrong To Rely On A Lockdown Loophole Created To Protect Victims Of Abuse’

This is now the second time we have heard about how people have been and spoken to the Chip Whip or the Conservative Party and they have taken limited action or no action at all in this case. We saw it with the Charlie Elphicke, the Tory MP who was convicted of three counts of sexual assault against two women in 2007 and 2016, when a Cabinet Minister tried to protect him.

The Conservative Party needs a proper and independent system to handle these sorts of complaints, which it clearly has failed to do. Politics needs to be far less about who your mates are and protecting your brand, and much more about the morality that we write laws that other people have to live by.

Powerful people should be protecting victims, not each other.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us