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Dowden Denies Tories Covering Up Rape Cases

The former head of the Conservative Party has claimed the Tories follow “a zero tolerance policy” after being accused of covering up sexual assault allegations.


Michael Dowden told  Sky News on Sunday November 5 that his party takes “any allegations of [sexual assault] very seriously.”


Dowden’s comments come after the Mail on Sunday revealed that Jake Berry, former chairman of the Tory party, and former chief whip Wendy Morton had sent a letter to detectives accusing their colleagues of covering up a series of rapes.  


In their letter to the police, Berry and Morton told the authorities that there were “five victims” of assaults and that the incidences carried on for over two years.


“We are aware that this matter has been ongoing for over two years. We also believe there are up to five victims of X and that the failure of others to act has enabled X to continue to offend and to victimise women.”


“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.”


“It is my view that if this did end up in court, not only would [one of the alleged victims] be poorly served and have a poor success rate but the party would be severely at risk of prosecution because of the peacemeal [sic] approach we have applied in this case and no doubt others.”

The letter also warned of journalists uncovering what had happened: “We as a party are still at risk of this being exposed to the press. If that does happen soon, then we will have to deal with whatever the outcome is of such action.”

“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 can say further than that, other than say it may be the case that these matters are subject to an ongoing criminal investigation,” Dowden said in his interview with Sky News.


This is the latest in a series of cases where members of the Conservative Party were accused of sexual assault.


Police arrested on Wednesday October 25 former Conservative MP for Surrey, Crispin Blunt, on suspicion of rape and the possession of controlled substances. The Conservative Party has suspended Blunt, and he is not allowed to enter parliamentary grounds.


Blunt, confident that he will not face criminal charges, identified himself in a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter, and claimed that he had two previous interviews with the police in connection with extortion.


“It has been reported that an MP was arrested yesterday in connection with an allegation of rape. I am confirming that MP was me. The fact of the arrest requires a formal notification of the speaker and the chief whip.”

“I have now been interviewed twice in connection with this incident, the first time three weeks ago when I initially reported my concern over extortion.”

“The second time was … under caution following arrest. The arrest was unnecessary as I remain ready to cooperate fully with the investigation that I am confident will end without charge.”

Surrey police said in a statement on Thursday October 26: “We can confirm a man … was arrested yesterday morning … on suspicion of rape and possession of controlled substances. He has been released on conditional police bail pending further inquiries.”

Another minister for the Conservative Party, Peter Bone, was given a six-week suspension after he was accused of indecently exposing himself to a member of staff.

The victim told the BBC it was a "horrid, brutal, dark experience that left me a broken shell of the young man I once was".

"His temper was often explosive. I described it as like a pendulum," he said, adding that Mr Bone's behaviour was "relentless".

Bone and Blunt’s suspension means that they could now face a petition to recall them in their constituencies, A bi-election will need to be called if 10% of voters agree to sign the petition.


In previous years, members of the Tory Party have lost seats following incidences of misconduct. The Conservative MP for Somerton and Frome resigned in 2022 after he was accused of sexual harassment and drug possession. The resignation led to a by-election in July in which Liberal Democrats gained the majority seat in Somerton and Frome. [Financial Times] [Parliament]


Conservative MP Chris Pincher, who was suspended over allegations of groping two men, lost his seat in the Staffordshire by-election, leading to Labour’s victory, indicating a 23.9% swing from tory support. [Sky News]


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