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No charges for gay Tory MP Ben Howlett over sex assault claims

Nick Duffy April 25, 2017

No charges will be brought against Conservative MP Ben Howlett over allegations of sexual assault.

Mr Howlett, the Conservative MP for Bath, was quizzed by police last year after a sexual assault complaint was filed against him.

The alleged assault was said to have taken place on a man at a Eurovision Song Contest party in a private residence in Mr Howlett’s Bath constituency in May 2016.

Mr Howlett, a member of the Women and Equality Select Committee and Secretary of a cross-party group on Global LGBT Rights, had strongly denied any wrongdoing.

Ben Howlett

The Crown Prosecution Service has now confirmed that no action will be taken against Mr Howlett, due to a lack of evidence.

A CPS spokesperson said: “In November 2016, the CPS received a full file from Avon and Somerset Police relating to an allegation of sexual assault in Bath.

“This file has now been considered by a specialist lawyer who has concluded that it does not meet the evidential threshold, and no charge has been authorised.”

Mr Howlett’s office confirmed: “[We] understand the matter is now closed”.

When news of the allegations first broke in November, Mr Howlett had said: “The Sun Newspaper and others have published stories concerning allegations about me today.

“My legal team is closely looking into this. I strenuously deny any wrongdoing.

“I will be making no further comment on this matter.”

No action was taken against Mr Howlett by the Conservative Party, and he remained an active MP during the investigation.

The politician is currently campaigning for re-election ahead of June’s snap election.

In a release last week he said: “Bath needs a champion now more than ever, one who is willing to stand up to the Government as well as his convictions whilst putting residents first.

“I have decided to stand again to be your local Member of Parliament for Bath, my home.

“I hope I can count on your support on June 8th so that I can continue to represent the beautiful city that my partner and I call home.”

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More: Assault, Ben Howlett, Conservative, Gay, LGBT, mp, Sex, sexual assault, Tory

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