Police have been urged to investigate allegations against Russell Brand as it emerged more women have come forward with complaints against the actor and comedian.

Caroline Nokes, Conservative chairwoman of the Commons women and equalities committee, said that “celebrity can act as a shield” for abusive behaviour.

The publisher of his forthcoming book has also said that it will “pause all future publishing” with the comedian and former BBC presenter. Mr Brand denies the allegations.

Mr Brand, 48, vehemently denies the allegations, which also includes claims of controlling, abusive and predatory behaviour, and said, in a video posted online on Friday night, that all of his relationships have been "consensual".

The initial claims of rape and sexual assault are said to be from a period between 2006 and 2013, when Brand was at the height of his fame and working for the BBC, Channel 4 and starring in Hollywood films.

The allegations made against him include one woman who claims she was sexually assaulted during a three-month relationship with Brand when she was 16 and still at school.

The woman described his behaviour towards her as "grooming" as he would allegedly provide her with scripts on how to deceive her parents into allowing her to visit him.

Ms Nokes said the allegations were “incredibly shocking and criminal”, saying they were “first and foremost a matter for the police”.

She told Today on BBC Radio 4: “I would very much hope that complaints will be made both to the Metropolitan Police and indeed in the States, because this merits and needs a criminal investigation, because for too long we have seen men — and the perpetrators of these sorts of crimes are almost invariably men — not being held to account for their behaviours and their actions.”

Ms Nokes suggested that famous individuals were given more leeway, saying: “If that were to happen in any business organisation, you’d like to think that they’d be out the door.”

Laura Trott, the pensions minister, said that no woman reading the allegations “could do anything other than shudder. It’s horrific”.

She praised the investigation, telling LBC: “I would just plead, any woman who’s had experiences like this to come forward and to report them to the police.”

Meanwhile, Mr Brand is today facing further claims after more women have come forward with allegations, it has been reported.

"Several women" are said to have contacted The Times and The Sunday Times in the wake of a joint investigation with Channel 4 Dispatches which aired at the weekend and which saw separate allegations of sexual assault from four women.

The Times said on Monday that the new allegations have not yet been investigated, and will now "be rigorously checked".

The BBC is facing questions after it has been alleged that he used the corporation's car service to pick up the 16-year-old from school so she could visit his him at his home, according to The Times.

The woman claims she met Mr Brand when he was 30 and a presenter on Radio 2. He later left the station after he made headlines in 2008 when he and guest Jonathan Ross left a "lewd" voicemail for Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs - who died in 2016 - about his granddaughter.

The broadcaster previously said it is "urgently looking into the issues raised" while Mr Brand worked on BBC radio programmes between 2006 and 2008.

In 2020, the same woman contacted Mr Brand's literary agent at the time, who was also the co-founder of talent agency Tavistock Wood.

A spokesman for the agency said Brand "categorically and vehemently denied the allegations" at the time but they now believe they were "horribly misled" and have terminated all professional ties with the comedian.

Channel 4 announced it is carrying out "its own internal investigation" following the allegations and the broadcaster has removed content featuring Brand from its streaming service while it looks into the claims.

"We will be writing to all our current suppliers reminding them of their responsibilities under our Code of Conduct, as we are committed to ensuring our industry has safe, inclusive and professional working environments," a Channel 4 statement added.

It comes after Mr Brand was accused of pursuing audience members for sex while presenting Big Brother spin-off shows EFourum and Big Brother's Big Mouth on Channel 4.

The Metropolitan Police said they will speak to The Sunday Times and Channel 4 to ensure "any victims of crime who they have spoken with are aware of how they may report any criminal allegations to police".

A spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) told the PA news agency they do not have an open investigation into Mr Brand, and another confirmed there have been no arrests following two allegations concerning claims that are said to have happened in the US.

As Dispatches aired on Saturday evening, Mr Brand performed a sold-out comedy gig at the Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre in north-west London as part of his Russell Brand Bipolarisation tour.

He is scheduled to perform at three more venues in September, including a show at the Theatre Royal in Windsor on Tuesday, The Pavilions in Plymouth on Friday, and The Civic At The Halls in Wolverhampton next Thursday.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Mr Brand has been dropped by his publisher in the UK.
Bluebird, an imprint of Pan Macmillan, said: “These are very serious allegations and in the light of them, Bluebird has taken the decision to pause all future publishing with Russell Brand.”

His new book, called Recovery: The Workbook, was due to be published in December and is described as a “practical guidebook to help you move from unconscious doing to conscious being”.