MP Pritchard urges review of rape anonymity after case dropped
MP Mark Pritchard has urged a review of the law on anonymity for people accused of rape after police dropped an inquiry into allegations against him.
Police said there was “insufficient evidence” to take further action against the Tory MP for The Wrekin after he was arrested last month.
Speaking outside Parliament, the MP said it had been a “testing time” for him and he was “glad that it was over”.
He urged “greater fairness” under the law for those accused of sex offences.
At the moment, those who say they are victims of rape and other sex offences are granted life-long anonymity but the same legal protection is not afforded to those accused of such offences.
‘Awful’In a short statement outside the House of Commons, Mr Pritchard thanked fellow MPs and constituents for supporting him since the news of his arrest emerged six weeks ago.
Referring to the allegation made against him, he said “sadly, as an MP, sometimes you have a target on your back”.
“To be falsely accused of anything is an awful thing,” he told reporters.
“Of course (my accuser) remains anonymous,” he said. “The law on anonymity does need to be reviewed and fairness does need to play a far greater role in these cases.”
Mr Pritchard was arrested on 2 December following an alleged incident in central London. The MP voluntarily attended a police station for questioning and was bailed pending further inquiries.
But police said on Tuesday that he would face no further action as there was “insufficient evidence”.
A police spokesman said: “A 48-year-old man voluntarily attended a north London police station on Tuesday, 2 December where he was arrested, following an allegation of rape in central London.
“He returned on bail on 6 January where he was informed he will face no further action as there was insufficient evidence.”
Mr Pritchard won his seat in 2010 with a majority of more than 9,000 and served as secretary of the influential Conservative 1922 committee for two years until 2012.
He is a member of Parliament’s joint national security strategy committee. He has dismissed reports in recent months that he could possibly defect to UKIP.