A top Conservative official has been arrested on suspicion of raping a teenage girl in the 1960s.
As preparations for the Tory Conference were underway last night, Tory vice-chairman Alan Lewis, 75, who was appointed by David Cameron, was held by police after a woman claimed she was attacked by him when she was a girl.
Lewis, a black belt in karate and a promoter of Christian healing who claims to read the Bible every day, has now been released on bail.
A Tory source told The Mirror the party "are in a state of shock."
"It could not have come at a worse time. Alan’s arrest will become the talking point of next week’s conference.”
The self-made tycoon, who owns the Crombie clothing chain and is thought to have a fortune of between £220 and £260 million, was reportedly arrested at a Manchester hotel while on a business trip.
A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said: "A 75-year-old man was arrested following a complaint received earlier this year of an historic rape that occurred in the Manchester area in the late 60s.
"The man was later bailed pending further inquiries. Specially-trained officers are providing support and welfare to the victim.''
One of David Cameron’s closest allies, Mr Lewis was given his current role as Tory vice-chairman responsible for business relations in 2010 by the Prime Minister.
In 1990, he was made a CBE for his services as chairman of the Confederation of British Industry's initiative to prepare British businesses to the single market.