Boris Johnson has defended the decision not to suspend the senior Tory MP who was arrested on suspicion of rape.
The MP, who has not been named, is alleged to have assaulted a former parliamentary aide and forced her to have sex. The abuse allegedly took place during a relationship.
The former minister, in his fifties, was arrested on Saturday after the Metropolitan Police received allegations of four separate incidents at London addresses between July last year and January.
He has now been released on bail to return on a date in mid-August.
The party has faced an intense backlash after a spokesperson for the Conservative whips' office confirmed on Sunday that the MP will not be suspended while police investigate the rape allegations.
The Prime Minister was asked during a visit to Warrington if he was confident it was the right decision not to remove the whip from the former minister amid safeguarding concerns.
Mr Johnson told reporters: "I think it's very, very important that we take all these cases extremely seriously and we will continue to do so.
"I think we've got to wait for the police to decide whether they want to make charges and take a decision on that basis."
The alleged victim reportedly said she was "devastated" by the Conservative Party's decision not to suspend him.
She told the Times of her disappointment that the party would not be taking immediate action.
“It’s insulting and shows they never cared,” she said.
The former researcher, who cannot be identified, told the Times that she first raised the allegations with the chief whip Mark Spencer in April.
She accused Mr Spencer of evading questions about when he would suspend the whip from the MP.
“I felt like he did not take me seriously or recognise the severity of what had happened," she said.
According to the Times, Mr Spencer did not believe a sexual assault had been reported during the conversation, but has acknowledged that she reported abusive behaviour and threats.