Crispin Blunt: Tory MP apologises for Imran Ahmed Khan defence

Former justice minister had said the convicted sex offender was victim of 'dreadful miscarriage of justice'

Conservative MP Imran Ahmad Khan, left, was supported by colleague Crispin Blunt. PA

British Conservative MP Crispin Blunt has apologised for the “significant upset and concern” caused by his defence of colleague Imran Ahmed Khan, who was convicted of sexually assaulting a teenage boy.

He also resigned from his position as chair of the LGBTQ+ parliamentary group.

Former justice minister Mr Blunt removed a post from his website and Twitter feed in which he had claimed Khan was the victim of a “dreadful miscarriage of justice” after he was found guilty on Monday of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in 2008.

In a statement, Mr Blunt said he had decided to retract his statement, that he did not “condone any form of abuse”, and believed in the “independence and integrity of the justice system".

Khan was thrown out of the Conservatives after the verdict, and Mr Blunt was under pressure from the party hierarchy to withdraw his initial statement.

He also offered his resignation as chairman of an all-party parliamentary group on LGBT+ issues following protests from MPs about his comments.

The retraction follows a statement published on Mr Blunt's website on Monday which described the jury's decision in Khan's case as “nothing short of an international scandal".

A jury at Southwark Crown Court in London took about five hours to find Khan, 48, guilty of sexually assaulting a minor in 2008. The victim is now 29.

The court heard how Khan, a Muslim who was elected to parliament in 2019, forced the boy to drink gin and tonic before the attack at a house in Staffordshire in January 2008.

Khan was a visitor at the boy's family home for a party.

Imran Ahmad Khan arriving at Southwark Crown Court in London during his sexual assault trial. EPA

But Mr Blunt, who was at the London court on Monday, had said the case “relied on lazy tropes about LGBT+ people” and argued the result had “dreadful wider implications” for LGBT+ people and Muslims “around the world".

“I am utterly appalled and distraught at the dreadful miscarriage of justice that has befallen my friend and colleague Imran Ahmad Khan, MP for Wakefield since December 2019,” Mr Blunt said.

Khan's legal team said he planned to appeal against the conviction.

Updated: April 12, 2022, 1:28 PM
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