Sussex Police have refused to hand over “evidence” to MP Tim Loughton – so he is taking the matter to the House of Commons.

The MP has said he will lead a debate in the Commons regarding freedom of speech and a police investigation of him over allegedly racist emails he sent to a constituent, Kieran Francis, on Wednesday.

It follows a statement from Sussex Police over the email exchange in which Mr Loughton said he supported the description of Mr Francis, of Stoney Lane, Shoreham, as “unkempt” and “dishevelled”.

In the email East Worthing and Shoreham MP Mr Loughton, who described himself as a “potato head”, also referred to “poisonous b*******”.

On Monday Mr Loughton met with chief constable Martin Richards about the case but his request for more information about the inquiry – a request that the force would not normally agree
with – was rejected.

A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “We understand that being the subject of an investigation can be upsetting, but have sought to explain to Mr Loughton that we have a duty to take all reports of crime to us seriously and with impartiality, irrespective of people’s views about the value of the particular law in question.

“As such, we have a duty to conduct an initial investigation when a report of this nature is received so that a decision can be made on the basis of the actual evidence rather than rely on the word of one person over the other.

“We wouldn’t ignore a report because of the standing or history of either the complainant or the sub- ject of the complaint.

“We have sought to reassure him that this case was handled in exactly the same way as if a com- plaint had been made about an ordinary member of the public.”

The force said if Mr Loughton was unhappy with the actions of officers he could make a formal complaint.

Mr Loughton said: “I will give a full response in the speech in the House on Wednesday.”