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Top Conservative held over teen rape claim

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Prime Minister, David Cameron, Leader of the Conservative Party delivers a speech to delegates during the annual Conservative Party Conference at the ICC in Birmingham, on October 10, 2012 (AFP/File)

A top member of Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative party has been arrested on suspicion of raping a teenage girl, British police said on Saturday.

Party vice-chairman Alan Lewis, 75, was arrested in London on Friday after a woman claimed he raped her in the 1960s in the city of Manchester, north-west England, police said.

Lewis, a self-made tycoon who has earned millions through his luxury clothing chain Crombie, was appointed vice-chairman by Cameron in 2010 and has been honoured by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to British business.

"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," said a spokesman for Greater Manchester Police.

"The man was later bailed pending further inquiries. Specially-trained officers are providing support and welfare to the victim."

The arrest comes just ahead of the Conservatives' annual party conference in Manchester, which runs from Sunday until next Wednesday.