Convicted MP Imran Ahmad Khan has been expelled from the Conservative Party after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy. The Wakefield MP is yet to be sentenced after being found guilty of the offense at Southwark Crown Court on Monday (April 11).
A spokesman for the Tories said Khan, 48, had been expelled ‘with immediate effect’ following the decision. Jurors decided Khan was guilty after hearing how he forced the teenager to drink gin and tonic, dragged him upstairs, pushed him on to a bed and asked him to watch pornography before the attack at a house in Staffordshire in January 2008.
The victim made a complaint to police days after Khan helped Prime Minister Boris Johnson win a large Commons majority by taking Wakefield in the so-called ‘red wall’ that had formed Labour’s heartlands in the Midlands and northern England. Khan had been suspended by the Tories pending the result of the trial, with the decision to expel him taken after confirmation of the jury’s ruling.
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Khan, who was 34 at the time of the offence, will be thrown out of the House of Commons if he is handed a prison sentence of more than a year, or otherwise could be subject to a petition to oust him in the recall process. The judge, Mr Justice Baker, said he will sentence Khan at a date to be fixed.
The victim, now 29, told a jury he was left feeling “scared, vulnerable, numb, shocked and surprised” after Khan touched his feet and legs, coming within “a hair’s breadth” of his privates, as he went to sleep in a top bunkbed. He ran to his parents of him and a police report was made at the time, but no further action was taken because the youngster did not want to make a formal complaint.
But he told jurors “it all came flooding back” when he learned Khan was standing in the December 2019 general election. Days ahead of the poll, 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 sent a questionnaire by Staffordshire Police rather than being interviewed under caution at a station because of “Covid protocols in place at the time”, denied sexual assault. The MP, who is gay and a Muslim, claims he only touched the Catholic teenager’s elbow when he “became extremely upset” after a conversation about her confused sexuality.
Khan said he was trying to be “kind” and “helpful”, but the teenager became upset and “bolted” when the topic of pornography was raised. However, the jury believed his victim, returning a guilty verdict after around five hours of deliberations.
The judge released Khan on bail, telling him: “I make it clear that all sentencing options, including immediate custody, are being considered by the court.” Khan made no comment as he left court, but his lawyers said he maintains his innocence and will appeal. His legal team has vowed to appeal against the conviction, a move that could delay a potential by-election.
Labor has called for his immediate resignation from Parliament as the opposition party pushed for a by-election in the hope of winning back their former territory. Tory MPs Crispin Blunt and Sir Peter Bottomley, the father of the House of Commons, attended court on Monday, while a third, Adam Holloway, earlier provided a character statement used as part of Khan’s defense case.
The victim said he “vividly” remembered the gin bottle Khan took to the party, the smell of the spirit in the glass tumbler, and the fizz of the bubbles as he was forced by Khan to drink the cocktail. He said Khan also watched him do pull-ups, asked him to watch pornography and told him he was “good looking” in a “love whisper” in his ear, which was “disgusting and really slimy”.
The victim said he pretended to be asleep in the top bunkbed before Khan reached through the wooden bars to touch his feet. “He was drunk because I could hear his heavy breathing from him,” he said.
The complainant said the “slow caressing” continued as Khan “worked his way around the bed” and “up my leg”, despite him telling the MP to stop. He said he “froze”, adding: “I freaked out and jumped out of the bed and ran as fast as I could.”