Over the course of 25 years in parliament, Crispin Blunt has gained a reputation for being a determined politician and at times, an unconventional Conservative. However, due to his primarily inactive role in parliament, he is not widely recognized by the general public.
On Thursday, Blunt’s announcement that he was the MP arrested on suspicion of rape and drug possession garnered a lot of attention. He expressed confidence that the investigation would conclude without any charges.
The Reigate MP, who has been stripped of his Conservative membership and instructed to avoid parliament while under investigation, has declared that he previously reported a claim of blackmail to the police regarding the same event.
63-year-old Blunt, who was granted unconditional bail, has been a representative of the Surrey town since 1997. However, he may be more recognizable to those uninterested in politics as the uncle of actress Emily Blunt. This also means he is related to American actor Stanley Tucci, who is married to Emily Blunt’s sister, Felicity.
After becoming a member of parliament, Blunt held various junior positions in the opposition shadow cabinet for the Conservative party. It was during this time that he first revealed his independent nature by stepping down from Iain Duncan Smith’s frontbench in 2003. Blunt compared Smith to a struggling football manager who needed to be fired.
During David Cameron’s term as prime minister in 2010, Blunt served as prisons minister for two years. However, his habit of speaking his thoughts caused some controversy.
Cameron became frustrated with his coworker when Blunt made a controversial statement about loosening prison party regulations, causing backlash from the media. Blunt had previously joked about the Bullingdon Club, a wild student group at Oxford University that Cameron was a part of, and how its affluent members could get away with breaking laws without consequences. This only added to the tension between the two.
A previous captain in the military, who served for 10 years before pursuing a career in politics, Blunt has experience as an advisor to the foreign secretary Malcolm Rifkind. From 2015 to 2017, he held the position of chair for the foreign affairs select committee, and has since focused on advocating for various causes.
These have included an adherence to humanism – he has questioned the way parliamentary sessions begin with prayers – and a willingness to criticise Israel and back Palestinian causes. Shortly before he lost the whip, Blunt was the only Conservative MP to sign an early day motion calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.
During his latest verbal statement in the House of Commons on Tuesday, Blunt raised a question to the government about its strategy for addressing the problem of Israeli settlers forcefully taking over Palestinian land.
Blunt is known for his support of LGBT rights, even though he initially voted against certain measures that were pro-LGBT during his time in parliament. He has since apologized for this.
In 2010, during his time as prisons minister, Blunt’s office released a statement stating that he and his wife Victoria, with whom he shares two children, had decided to end their 20-year marriage. He also revealed that he was “coming to terms with his homosexuality.”
This announcement caused concern among the Conservative members in his electoral district, and there was a chance that he would be removed from his position.
18 months ago, Blunt declared his intention to step down at the upcoming election. Months later, he was among the initial Conservative MPs to publicly demand for Liz Truss to resign as prime minister, stating that it was clear she needed to go.