Suspended Tory MP Put on Trial Over Claim He Groped 15-Year-Old Boy

© Richard TownshendOfficial portrait of Imran Ahmad Khan MP
Official portrait of Imran Ahmad Khan MP - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.03.2022
Imran Ahmad Khan, who strenuously denies the allegations against him, is not the first MP to be accused of sexual misconduct during the current Parliament. One member each from the Conservative, Labour, and Scottish National parties have already been reprimanded or forced to resign over harassment.
A British parliamentarian has gone on trial over allegations he groped a 15-year-old boy in 2008.
Imran Ahmad Khan, who has served as the MP for Wakefield in Yorkshire since the last general election in 2019, arrived at Southwark Crown Court in London on Tuesday, walking with the aid of a stick.
The charge with sexual assault against Khan emerged in June last year, when legal reporting restrictions were lifted. The Conservative Party, for which he stood as a candidate in 2019, withdrew the whip from Khan pending the outcome of the case.
The trial, adjudicated by High Court Judge Mr Justice Baker, is expected to last two weeks.
Khan made no statement to journalists on Tuesday, but had previously strenuously denied the charge.
"May I make it clear from the outset that the allegation, which is from over 13 years ago, is denied in the strongest terms", he said in June 2021.
"To be accused of doing something I did not do is shocking, destabilising and traumatic. I am innocent", Khan insisted. "Those, like me, who are falsely accused of such actions are in the difficult position of having to endure damaging and painful speculation until the case is concluded".
Weekly cabinet meeting, in London - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.10.2021
UK Parliament Closes Loophole That Allowed Sex-Pest MP to Keep His Seat
Khan was not the first MP to be accused of sexual misconduct during the current Parliament.
Delyn MP Rob Roberts, also elected as a Conservative, was censured by Parliament's Independent Experts' Panel (IEP) in May 2021 for making "repeated, unwelcome sexual advances" towards a male member of his staff. Roberts refused to resign, prompting the government to introduce a legislative amendment giving the IEP the same powers as the Parliamentary Standards Committee to suspend MPs, allowing for a recall petition to be launched by constituents.
Labour MP for Hartlepool Mike Hill stepped down in March 2021 after a female member of his staff accused him of sexual harassment, allegations that were later upheld by an inquiry. The ensuing by-election saw the Tories win the northern industrial seat for the first time since the 1960s.
Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) MP Patrick Grady resigned as the party's chief whip in Westminster, but not from his seat, the same month after allegations from two young male staffers of sexual harassment. SNMP leaders were accused of trying to bury the claims.
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