MP for Tiverton and Honiton, Richard Foord, backed a bill on Wednesday which would see MPs banned from Parliament if they are arrested for a serious crime.

The safeguarding law was passed in the House of Commons by a single vote, after 170 MPs threw their weight behind the new bill.

Mr Foord said the new rules would bring Parliament into the modern age by adopting rules on arrests currently in force in workplaces up and down the country. Commenting, he said: “Ever since I was first sent by the people of Mid and East Devon to Parliament, it’s struck me how the institution continues to lag behind when it comes to workplace norms. I have a deep respect for the customs and traditions of Parliament, but this is about something entirely different.

“Last night’s vote was an important step forward. It will ensure that MPs who are subject to police investigations sufficiently serious to lead to arrest cannot attend Parliament while the issue is investigated by the Police.

“This change brings us into line with almost every other workplace, ensuring that MPs’ staff feel safe. It should not be an issue for such a prestigious institution as Parliament, but the reverence with which Parliament is held has proved recently to be misplaced in relation to some rogue MPs.

“It was disappointing to see so many Conservative MPs oppose this move, arguing that MPs should be held to a different standard. We are elected to represent people, but that does not put us above workplace norms of behaviour. The public should be able to demand better of their MPs.

“I’m proud that it is the Liberal Democrats who have been leading the charge against sleaze, and to clean-up Parliament. It was our amendment that secured this important change and I’m glad that my single vote was able to make such a change possible.

“This shows why people need to think very carefully about who is best placed to be their voice at Westminster and the significance of the next election for people in the new Honiton and Sidmouth constituency.”