Tory MP stands up for colleague convicted of child sex offense – Reuters News in France and abroad

A Tory MP has been branded ‘shameful’ after standing up for a colleague who was expelled from the party following his conviction for a child sex offence.

Wakefield MP Imran Ahmad Khan is awaiting sentencing after a jury at Southwark Crown Court found him guilty on Monday of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy more than a decade before he entered Parliament .

The court heard how Khan forced the teenager to drink gin and tonic, dragged him upstairs, pushed him onto a bed and asked him to watch pornography before the attack at a house in the Staffordshire in 2008.

The victim filed a police complaint days after Khan, who is gay and Muslim, helped Boris Johnson win a large majority in the House of Commons in 2019 by taking the seat of Wakefield in West Yorkshire.

Khan, 48, had been suspended from the Conservative Party following the allegation, and a Tory spokesman said he had been expelled “with immediate effect” following the ruling.

But former attorney general Crispin Blunt, who attended parts of the trial, denounced the sentencing as “an international scandal”.

In a statement on its websiteMP for Reigate said: “I am utterly appalled and distraught at the terrible miscarriage of justice that befell my friend and colleague Imran Ahmad Khan.

“His sentencing today is nothing less than an international outrage, with terrible wider implications for millions of LGBT+ Muslims around the world. »

Mr Blunt, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group on global LGBT+ rights, said the lawsuit relied on “lazy tropes about LGBT+ people that we might have thought we had put behind us decades ago. “.

He said he hoped for Khan’s return to public office, adding: ‘Any other outcome will be a stain on our reputation for justice and a dreadful objective on Britain’s part as we try to take the initiative to reverse the prejudice of the Victorian era which still distorts too much of the book of world laws.

But Labor chairwoman Anneliese Dodds called her remarks “shameful”.

She said Mr Johnson and Tory Speaker Oliver Dowden “must take action against this Tory MP and move their party away from his comments”.

If Khan is sentenced to a year or more in jail, he will be automatically revoked as an MP, triggering a by-election that would give Labor the chance to win back one of the so-called ‘red wall’ seats in his Midlands and strongholds. from northern England seized by the Tories in 2019. A shorter prison sentence would leave him open to a recall petition by voters.

His legal team has pledged to appeal the conviction, a decision that could delay a possible by-election.

The victim, now 29, told a jury that he felt “scared, vulnerable, numb, shocked and startled” after Khan touched his feet and legs, lying “ a hair” from his genitals, as he fell asleep in an upper bunk bed.

He ran to his parents and a police report was made at the time, but no further action was taken as the youngster did not want to press charges officially.

But he told jurors “it all came back” when he learned Khan was running in the December 2019 general election.

The Tory hopeful was literally parachuted into the constituency in a parachute jump after being selected to replace Antony Calvert weeks before the election.

Days before the election, the victim said he contacted the Conservative Party press office to tell them what Khan had done to him, but added: “I wasn’t taken very seriously.”

Khan, who was given a questionnaire by Staffordshire Police rather than being questioned on bail in a post due to ‘Covid protocols in place at the time’, denied the sexual assault.

He claims he only touched the Catholic teenager’s elbow when he ‘became extremely upset’ after a conversation about his confused sexuality.

Khan said he tried to be ‘nice’ and ‘helpful’ but the teenager got upset and ‘fucked’ when the subject of pornography came up.

However, the jury believed his victim, returning a guilty verdict after approximately five hours of deliberation.

The judge released Khan on bail, telling him, “I make it clear that all sentencing options, including immediate detention, are being considered by the court.”

Khan made no comment as he left the court, but his lawyers said he maintains his innocence and will appeal.

Labor has called for his immediate resignation from parliament.

Mr Blunt and Sir Peter Bottomley, the father of the Commons, appeared in court on Monday, while a third Tory MP, Adam Holloway, previously provided a character statement used as part of Khan’s defense .

There was no immediate response from Downing Street or the Conservative Party to The Independentrequest for comment on Mr. Blunt’s statement.

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Tory MP stands up for colleague convicted of child sex offense – Reuters News in France and abroad