Mark Pritchard MP has announced he will not face charges over the allegation of rape made against him before Christmas. He used his statement at Westminster to call for anonymity for those accused of rape, a right already given to accusers.
As result of the rules protecting the person accusing him, few details of the case can be publicly reported. It came to light when the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, announced his arrest to Hansard. The move was attacked by MPs on all sides because Bercow and Pritchard are known to hate each other.
Mark Pritchard said: “To be falsely accused of anything is an awful thing. My accuser is single, well educated and in her mid-thirties. For the record, I was in a full consenting relationship with her. The evidence supported this.
“It was only when I ended the relationship she concocted her vindictive and outrageous story… Of course she remains anonymous. The law on anonymity does need to be reviewed and fairness does need to play a far greater role in these cases.”
He is the latest in a number of high profile individuals who have been publicly accused only later to have the cases dropped. The volume of cases is fuelling calls at Westminster to give anonymity to anyone accused until they are charged with the offence, which would have meant Pritchard’s name would never have been in the public domain.
One MP who has been heavily involved in the campaign is Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans. Whilst he was cleared of rape last year, the negative publicity cost him his position as Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons.
He told Breitbart London: “The stress and strain on those who are wrongly accused is unfathomable and I have seen over the past six weeks the crushing pressure that has been placed on Mark.
“There needs to be a rebalancing of the process in these cases. Anonymity must be afforded to both sides, in order that after an investigation is concluded and no further action is taken the person still has reputation which has not been ravaged by the public process of defending themselves.
“I do not see this as a partisan issue, and I hope whomever forms the government after the next election will look at this and enact legislation. I’m sure that they would receive widespread support.”