Allegations about the conduct of David Warburton should be investigated and the facts established, a Cabinet minister has said.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps made the comments when asked about the backbench MP having the Tory whip withdrawn pending an investigation into claims about his behaviour.
The allegations relating to Mr Warburton, the MP for Somerton and Frome, are being examined by Parliament’s Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS).
The Sunday Times reported that two women had made formal complaints to the ICGS about his behaviour and a third woman had also made allegations about his conduct.
The allegations reported by the newspaper relate to sexual misconduct and a claim he had taken cocaine.
Mr Warburton is said to deny any wrongdoing. The PA news agency has made multiple attempts to contact him for comment.
He is cited as telling The Telegraph: “I have enormous amounts of defence, but unfortunately the way that things work means that doesn’t come out first.
“I have heard nothing whatsoever from the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme. I’m sorry, I can’t comment any further.”
Mr Shapps said on Sunday that the allegations should be investigated so the facts can be established.
The Cabinet minister told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “The party has, I think, withdrawn the whip, and put this under the investigation, which needs to go through its process. I don’t have any sort of further knowledge of it other than what I’ve read in the newspapers and what the party’s said.
“Obviously, any allegations like this need to be taken extremely carefully, but all the facts will need to be brought out as well. So until we get there I don’t think there’s much more I can helpfully add to it.”
A spokesperson for the Whips’ Office said: “David Warburton MP has had the Conservative Party whip removed while the investigation is ongoing.”
Mr Warburton was first elected in 2015 with a majority of 20,268, or 53% of the vote. According to the MP’s website, at 18.3%, this represented the largest constituency swing to the Conservative Party.
He was re-elected in 2017 and 2019, with majorities of 22,906 and 19,213 respectively.
He is the current chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music and was previously a member of the Commons European Scrutiny Committee.
Prior to being an MP, Mr Warburton’s site says he taught music for five years at an inner-city mixed community school in London before founding the technology company The Music Solution Ltd in 1999, which later became Pitch Entertainment Group.
He went on to set up two building property restoration and development companies in 2009, his website says, and co-founded the online business MyHigh.St in 2012.