Douglas McWilliams
Douglas McWilliams is said to have denied the allegations againt himBBC

One of the UK's top economists has been questioned by police over allegations he assaulted a prostitute after smoking crack cocaine.

Professor Douglas McWilliams, executive chairman of influential City of London think-tank Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR), is alleged to have attacked 47-year-old Beverly Shearon on New Year's Eve after the pair had smoked crack together.

Shearon said she was left with a black eye and an injury to her hand after McWilliams "flipped out" at her flat in St Albans, Hertfordshire, reported the Sun on Sunday.

It is claimed McWilliams attacked Shearon when a neighbour came round to wish her a happy new year. He reportedly left before the police arrived. He was was later questioned by police, but not arrested over the alleged incident.

A Hertfordshire Police spokesperson said: "Police are investigating an [actual bodily harm] assault which is alleged to have occurred at an address in St Albans at around 5pm on 31 December.

"A woman reported she had been assaulted - she suffered an injury to her hand and bruising to her face. A 63-year-old man from London has been interviewed under caution and investigations are on-going at this time. No drug offences are being investigated."

McWilliams has not commented publicly about the claims, but is believed to deny the allegations against him. The CEBR have also not commented on the allegations.

Described as one of the UK's "most widely quoted economists" McWilliams set up the think-tank in 1992 having previously served as Chief Economic Adviser to the Confederation of British Industry and Chief Economist for IBM UK.