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Conservative MP Crispin Blunt on Thursday confirmed he had been arrested on suspicion of rape, adding to a slew of allegations of sleaze that have dogged the UK’s ruling party.

“I have now been interviewed twice in connection with this incident,” he wrote in a statement posted on X, formerly Twitter, adding that he had reported concern about extortion connected to the allegations.

“The arrest was unnecessary as I remain ready to co-operate fully with the investigation that I am confident will end without charge,” he added.

Surrey Police said: “We can confirm a man in his 60s was arrested yesterday morning [25 October] in Horley on suspicion of rape and possession of controlled substances. He has been released on conditional police bail pending further enquiries.”

Tory officials said Blunt had lost the Conservative whip pending the outcome of a police investigation. The MP has also been asked to stay away from the parliamentary estate.

The arrest will compound the woes faced by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who has had to navigate successive scandals surrounding sexual misconduct and bullying among his MPs.

Former Conservative minister Peter Bone was suspended from the Commons on Wednesday after being accused of bullying and sexual misconduct by a former member of staff. He has denied the allegations.

That could trigger a by-election in Bone’s supposedly safe Wellingborough seat, adding to the recent series of contests prompted by allegations of serious crimes and inappropriate behaviour by Tory MPs.

This month the Tories lost the Tamworth by-election, a seat previously held by former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher, who was suspended after he was found to have sexually assaulted two men at a London club.

Last year the Conservatives lost the Tiverton and Honiton seat after the resignation of Tory MP Neil Parish, who admitted watching porn in the House of Commons.

Meanwhile, David Warburton, Conservative MP for Somerton and Frome, resigned last year in the face of allegations of sexual misconduct and illicit drug use. The Tories also lost his seat in a by-election.

Downing Street insiders say Sunak is contending with “legacy issues”, but the steady stream of bad news is reminiscent of the “back to basics” sleaze scandals that hit former Tory leader John Major in the 1990s.

Earlier this year, Sunak vowed to crack down on sleaze after he sacked Nadhim Zahawi as chair of the Conservative party for committing “serious breaches” of the ministerial code by failing to be transparent about his tax affairs.

“I will take whatever steps are necessary to restore integrity back into politics,” Sunak said. “Integrity is really important to me.”

According to the latest YouGov poll, Labour has a 24-point lead over the Conservatives, giving the main opposition party an average lead of 20 points, according to the Politico poll of polls.

Two former Conservative MPs have been convicted on charges of sexual assault. Charlie Elphicke, who was MP for Dover, was convicted and jailed for two years in 2021. Imran Ahmad-Khan, MP for Wakefield, was convicted and jailed for sexual abuse last year.

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