Prime Minister David Cameron’s office has been accused of a cover-up after a senior aide was arrested over child sex abuse images allegations, Skynews reports.
Patrick Rock resigned from his role as deputy head of Downing Street’s policy unit almost three weeks ago, after officials were made aware of a potential offence.
This was revealed by the Daily Mail on Monday evening and confirmed by Number 10.
Backbench Labour MP John Mann said it was “mysterious” this had not emerged earlier.
“There has been a bodged attempt at media manipulation which is wholly unacceptable from 10 Downing Street,” he said.
“Of course they should have revealed it proactively.”
Cameron said on Tuesday he had been “profoundly shocked” by the allegations against Rock, who resigned on February 12, the day before he was arrested.
“I don’t think it would be right to pre-emptively brief out a criminal investigation and that’s why we did not do that.
“But as soon as questions were asked, as questions would inevitably be asked, we have given very full and straightforward answers, which is absolutely the right way to answer this.
“I’ve been clear right along and I was told about this issue pretty much as soon as it was discovered and I have been very clear we must handle this in an absolutely correct way and I am satisfied that is what number 10 Downing Street has done.”
Rock, who is not married and is from west London, was involved in drawing up the Government’s policy on internet pornography filters.
The 62-year-old was brought back into Downing Street in 2011 by Cameron after working with him at the Home Office under Michael Howard in the 1990s.
He is reported to have been in line for a peerage.
Rock was the subject of an unrelated complaint of “inappropriate behaviour” towards a female civil servant 18 months ago.
Downing Street said this was “appropriately resolved with the consent of and in consultation with the individual who raised the issue”.