JACOB Rees-Mogg says it is important “people feel safe working in Parliament” after allegations of sexual harassment and cocaine use emerged against David Warburton.

Mr Rees-Mogg also said he feels sorry for Mr Warburton “on a personal level” but believes there is a need for a “proper process to be followed” to investigate the claims. 

Mr Warburton has had the Conservative whip withdrawn while an investigation is carried out by Parliament's Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) into his conduct. 

At the weekend, an image was published showing the Somerton and Frome MP sitting next to four lines of a white powder on an upturned baking tray.

The Sunday Times reported that two women made formal complaints to the ICGS about Mr Warburton, while a third woman also detailed allegations about his conduct.

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According to the newspaper, all three women accuse him of unwanted sexual comments and sexual touching, and the latter also accuses the MP of having used cocaine at her home.

Mr Warburton 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.”

Somerset County Gazette: Somerton and Frome MP David Warburton. Picture: UK ParliamentSomerton and Frome MP David Warburton. Picture: UK Parliament

Mr Rees-Mogg, who represents North East Somerset and is the Brexit opportunities minister, was asked on LBC Radio if he would offer a word of comfort to a neighbouring MP.

“I obviously feel sorry for somebody on a personal level but it’s really important that the inquiry is carried out and people feel safe working in Parliament,” he said.

“There’s a need for personal sympathy but there is also a need for a proper process to be followed.”

Mr Rees-Mogg also discussed the 'partygate' scandal while he was on LBC and suggested that Boris Johnson was handed incorrect information about the gatherings before he told MPs that no rules had been broken.

“The prime minister said that he was told the rules were followed, but that turns out not to be correct and we know that fines have now been issued, but the prime minister can only work on the information he is given,” said Mr Rees-Mogg. 

He defended his dismissal of the 'partygate' row as “fluff” and described some of the coronavirus restrictions imposed during lockdown as “inhuman”. 

Mr Rees-Mogg also downplayed the earthquake risks from fracking and suggested “every last drop” of oil should be extracted from the North Sea.