The Guardian LONDON, England A senior Conservative MP, Crispin Blunt, has been arrested on suspicion of rape and possession of drugs.

Blunt, who has since been suspended by the party, made a statement after Surrey police said a man in his 60s had been arrested on Wednesday and later released on bail.

After identifying himself, Blunt had the whip suspended pending the outcome of the police investigation, meaning he is now an independent, and it is understood he has been told to stay away from the parliamentary estate.

The MP for Reigate, a former justice minister and ex-chair of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, said he was confident the investigation would end without charge.

He said he had previously reported an allegation of extortion to police in relation to the same incident, and had spoken to officers several weeks ago.

In a statement, Blunt said: “It has been reported that an MP was arrested yesterday in connection with an allegation of rape. I am confirming that MP was me. The fact of the arrest requires a formal notification of the speaker and the chief whip.

“I have now been interviewed twice in connection with this incident, the first time three weeks ago when I initially reported my concern over extortion.

“The second time was … under caution following arrest. The arrest was unnecessary as I remain ready to cooperate fully with the investigation that I am confident will end without charge.”

Officers said a man was arrested on Wednesday morning before being released on conditional bail.

A spokesperson for Surrey police said: “We can confirm a man … was arrested yesterday morning … on suspicion of rape and possession of controlled substances. He has been released on conditional police bail pending further inquiries.”

It is understood the suspected controlled substances are being tested, with the results pending.

It is the latest in a string of arrests of MPs in relation to alleged sexual crimes.

Another sitting Conservative MP, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was arrested in May 2022 on suspicion of indecent assault, sexual assault and rape. He has not been charged.

Two former Tory MPs have been convicted of sexual assault: Charlie Elphicke, who was MP for Dover, was sentenced to a two-year prison term in 2020 on three counts of sexual assault against two women; and Imran Ahmad Khan, the former MP for Wakefield, was last year sentenced to 18 months in jail for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

In the past, the speaker of the House of Commons would make it public when an MP had been arrested. This practice was ended in 2016 after MPs voted to give greater privacy to their colleagues when arrested.

The parliament of 2019 has seen a long list of MPs from a number of parties accused of sexual misbehaviour.

Most recently, Peter Bone, a Conservative MP, was suspended from parliament for six weeks after a watchdog found he had harassed and bullied a staff member and exposed his genitals near their face.

Boris Johnson’s deputy chief whip, Chris Pincher, stepped down as an MP after getting an eight-week suspension from parliament following an investigation that found he had groped two men at a private members’ club in 2022.

Other scandals include the resignation of Neil Parish, the MP for Tiverton and Honiton, who stood down in April 2022 after admitting to watching pornography on his phone in the Commons.

Another Conservative MP, David Warburton, lost the whip in 2022 after the Sunday Times reported he was facing allegations from three women. He quit earlier this year because he felt he was denied a fair hearing by the watchdog over the claims that he made unwanted advances.

Yet another Tory MP, Julian Knight, was stripped of the whip over an allegation of sexual misconduct, which he denied, saying he had been targeted by unfounded rumours.

Police dropped an investigation but the whip was not restored after the Conservatives said there were “further complaints made to the whips’ office”. He is not standing to be an MP again.

Another former Conservative MP, Rob Roberts, sits as an independent after he was suspended from parliament for six weeks having been found by an independent panel to have made “significant” repeated and unwanted sexual advances towards a former member of staff and used “his position as his employer to place him under pressure to accede”.

Labour has also suspended an MP over alleged sexual misconduct. Geraint Davies, a long-serving MP, had the Labour whip suspended after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced from five women stretching back over several years. No formal complaints were made and Davies said he did not recognise the allegations.

Charlotte Nichols, a Labour MP, has previously accused her own party of failing to do enough about an allegation of sexual misconduct by a frontbencher.