A Conservative MP’s aide has been arrested on suspicion of rape inside his Parliamentary office.
Sam Armstrong, chief of staff to South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay, was remanded in custody last week by police investigating an allegation of rape.
The 23-year-old is accused of taking a woman into Mackinlay’s office after he and other Tory aide had been drinking in a taxpayer-subsidized bar within Parliament from late Thursday night to early Friday morning.
Armstrong has been bailed pending further enquiries to a date in mid-January 2017.
“There were a group of Tory advisers and female guests drinking there all night. Some were very drunk indeed,” an unnamed source told the Sun.
The drinking session reportedly took place on the House of Lords’ terrace – a publicly-subsidized bar that backs on to the River Thames.
According to the Sun, Mackinlay’s office was raided by police on Friday and sealed off as a potential crime scene.
Armstrong came to public attention last year as part of a scandal surrounding the suicide of 21-year-old Tory activist Elliot Johnson.
He was banned from last year’s Conservative Party conference after claims Armstrong filmed Tory MP Robert Halfon leaving a nightclub with his mistress in Essex as part of a blackmail plot orchestrated by ‘Tatler Tory’ candidate Mark Clarke, who has since been permanently expelled from the party.
“On Friday morning Mr. Mackinlay was made aware of an allegation against a member of his staff,” a spokesperson for the MP said.
“Following a request made by the police and Parliamentary services, he granted full access to his Westminster office.
“Mr. Mackinlay is currently awaiting further information from the police.”
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said, “Detectives from the sexual offences, exploitation and child abuse command are investigating an allegation of rape at the Houses of Parliament in the early hours of Friday, 14 October.
“A 23-year-old man was arrested that same day on suspicion of rape. He has been bailed pending further inquiries to a date in mid-January 2017.”
The Commons Sergeant-at-Arms office, which oversees security in Parliament, told the Times: “We are working closely with the Metropolitan Police on the matter, but cannot comment further at this time.”