Labour MP Simon Danczuk facing police inquiry over rape allegation

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Labour MP Simon Danczuk is facing a police investigation after a rape allegation was made against him.

A Lancashire police spokeswoman said on Monday: “We can confirm that we have today received a report of a rape against a 49-year-old man. Inquiries are ongoing.”

It is understood that the allegation is against Danczuk, who has been under mounting pressure after a series of revelations about his private life.

Danczuk declined to comment on the allegation after the statement was made by police. But speaking to reporters earlier in the day, Danczuk said he would cooperate with any police investigation. “I would always cooperate with the police in any regard in any investigation in relation to any issue,” he said.

Danczuk has been MP for Rochdale since 2010 and hit the headlines two years later after exposing Cyril Smith, the late Liberal MP, as a paedophile. He co-wrote a book on Smith and first named him as a child abuser in parliament, months before the police confirmed that the late MP should have been prosecuted over abuse claims.

He has been a prominent campaigner against child abuse in recent years and has also has been a fierce critic of the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, whom he said last October he would try to oust if the party did badly in this May’s devolved and local elections.

He has admitted to having a drink problem and his personal relationships have also hit the headlines in the past year.

At the weekend, Danczuk’s first wife accused him of being a sexual predator in an interview with the Mail on Sunday. Sonia Rossington, who was married to the MP for a decade, accused him of drug-taking and sexually abusive behaviour during their marriage.

Simon Danczuk MP ‘has no stop button’ when drinking, says ex-girlfriend – audio

Danczuk responded to Rossington’s claims, telling the Mail On Sunday: “She is consumed by bitterness, is susceptible to drinking too much and is telling lies.”

The Labour MP has been in the spotlight over the past few days after being suspended by the party, which is investigating his conduct over an entirely separate allegation, in which admitted sending explicit texts to a 17-year-old girl after she asked him for a job in his constituency office.

The MP apologised unreservedly and blamed a drink problem for the messages he sent to Sophena Houlihan when she was 17.

Houlihan, who is now 18, said Danczuk sent her numerous messages including one asking if she wanted a “spanking”.

Pressure on Danczuk to resign intensified on Monday night as Peter Saunders, the founder of one of Britain’s biggest child abuse charities, the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, said the MP had “no excuses whatsoever” for his behaviour towards Houlihan.

“I want to register my disgust at not only his behaviour but his attempts to defend himself instead of doing the honourable thing, which is resigning immediately as a member of parliament,” said Saunders, who was last year appointed by Pope Francis to a special commission on child sexual abuse in the Catholic church.

Saunders’ comments came hours after a small demonstration outside Danczuk’s constituency office in Rochdale ended in ugly scenes when two men confronted the MP in the town centre, shouting: “Resign, you scumbag,” as he retreated to his office. Danczuk later said he had reported one of the men to police.

A group of around two dozen protesters – many of whom were political opponents of Danczuk – had earlier gathered outside his constituency office before marching through Rochdale demanding his resignation.

Speaking after the protest had finished, Danczuk described the demonstrators as a “ragtag of political opponents” and “malcontents” and said he had been “humbled” by the reaction of his constituents, who he said were sticking by him.

Simon Danczuk says he does not believe he will be ‘expelled’ from the Labour party – video

The MP also suggested he was the victim of an establishment class war, saying he had been lambasted for his “working-class colourful personal life” while people acting with similar colourful lives from upper class backgrounds were not vilified.

The MP’s personal life has repeatedly made headlines over the past year, following the collapse of his marriage to his second wife, Karen, who was dubbed the “selfie queen” after posting numerous photographs of herself on social media.

Greater Manchester police have previously confirmed that they had looked into a report that Danczuk had been “communicating inappropriately with a teenage girl” after a complaint was made to them on 29 December 2015. “This matter was looked into and it has been determined that no offences have been committed,” they said in a statement.

It is understood that Labour is considering dropping Ken Livingstone from any inquiry into Danczuk after the former mayor of London criticised the MP for Rochdale last week. Danczuk claimed Livingstone has prejudged any inquiry.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Josh Halliday North of England correspondent, for theguardian.com on Monday 4th January 2016 19.26 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010