Politician criticises publicity over Shropshire MP Mark Pritchard's arrest
A Conservative MP who was cleared of an incorrect rape allegation has criticised the decision to publicise the arrest of his Shropshire colleague Mark Pritchard for a similar alleged crime.
Wrekin MP Mr Pritchard was arrested and bailed following an allegation of rape earlier this week.
Nigel Evans, the former deputy speaker, raised concerns about the parliamentary procedure for disclosing when an elected representative is arrested. He said information about alleged crimes committed by MPs should not be released when they were arrested, but rather when and if they were charged with an offence.
Mr Evans said: "I know what he is going through and no-one should rush to judgment. In too many cases the allegations have led to absolutely nothing.
"Knowing Mark, he will give the police all the help he can. I am surprised about how the information got into the public domain.
"I am a little bemused as to why it appeared on the order paper like that. I don't think this information should be released before charge."
It is parliamentary procedure to report the arrest of an MP on the order paper under the "arrest of a member" section.
Mr Evans highlighted cases where high-profile people accused of crimes were not eventually charged with any offence.
"Paul Gambaccini, Jimmy Tarbuck, Jim Davidson, Ben Sullivan – the Oxford student – in all those cases there was no further action," said Mr Evans.
In May 2013, Mr Evans was accused of rape, a charge he was later cleared of.
He stepped down as deputy speaker at the time.
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