Here's why you shouldn't speculate about who the Tory MP arrested for rape is online

Here's why you shouldn't speculate about who the Tory MP arrested for rape is online
Laura Bates discusses the impact of patriarchy on rape allegations

Yesterday, an unnamed Tory MP was arrested after being accused of rape and sexual assault.

The man in his 50s was arrested over allegations dating back to between 2002 and 2009 and released on bail pending further enquiries.

In a statement in the Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he took "the safety of our staff and parliamentary community as a whole very seriously".

Sir Lindsay also warned MPs against naming the individual, saying he believed it would be "wholly inappropriate for any further reference to be made to this matter in the House".

The Conservatives confirmed on Tuesday that their chief whip had asked the MP to stay away from the parliamentary estate during the police inquiry.

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Since then, social media has been rife with speculation about who the MP may be. But there are a few important reasons why it is best not to fuel the rumour mill.

The Times says whips believe that if they suspended the suspect and removed his whip it would endanger the anonymity of their victim or victims.

And there are legal factors to consider too. In February, the Supreme Court ruled against Bloomberg in a privacy ruling and said that a person under criminal investigation has a right to privacy before they are charged.

The Supreme Court ruling said: “Once it is established that the relevant information was that a person, prior to being charged, was under criminal investigation then the correct approach is for a court to start with the proposition that there will be a reasonable expectation of privacy in respect of such information.”

Media law trainer David Banks says:

And he also warns about social media use prejudicing trials:

Meanwhile, defaming someone who hasn't been accused of the crimes could land you in legal hot water:

So, if ever there was a time to think before posting, this would be it.

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