After defending sex offender Imran Ahmad Khan, Blunt apologises

LONDON (Parliament Politics Magazine) – Crispin Blunt, a Conservative MP, has apologised for a comment in which he defended fellow Conservative MP Imran Ahmad Khan, who was convicted of sexual assault.

On Monday, Khan, a Wakefield MP, was found guilty of abusing a 15-year-old boy in 2008.

In a post on his website, Mr Blunt termed the verdict a “dreadful miscarriage of justice.”

He has since deleted the message and apologised after Tory bosses called it “wholly unacceptable.”

He was sorry that his defence of him had caused substantial upset and anxiety, not least to victims of sexual assaults, the Reigate MP stated.

He also resigned as chair of a cross-party MPs’ committee that fights for LGBT+ rights around the world, following the resignation of other members of the group in response to his remarks.

Khan was expelled from the Conservative Party after the judgement was handed down by the Southwark Crown Court on Monday, but he has stated that he will fight his conviction.

In a statement that is now deleted, Mr Blunt, a friend of Khan’s who attended some of his trial, said he was appalled and devastated by the verdict. He called it an international scandal, with horrific wider ramifications for millions of LGBT+ Muslims around the world.

The case against Khan, he stated, relied on sloppy clichés about LGBT+ persons that they might have hoped they had left behind them decades ago. 

He hoped Imran Ahmad Khan returned to the public service that had characterised his life to date, he added.

He didn’t go into depth about why he thought Khan’s conviction was a travesty of justice.

The Conservative Party slammed his remarks as an attack on the judiciary’s independence.

Mr Blunt’s criticism of the ruling was dubbed “disgraceful” by Labour, who suggested he should be expelled from the Conservative Party.

Mr Blunt added in his apologies that he did not condone any type of abuse and that he believed in the legal system’s “independence and integrity.”

Khan denied groping a youngster at a party in Staffordshire in January 2008, during his trial.

The boy was forced into drinking gin, dragged upstairs, and was asked to watch pornography before he was assaulted by the MP, according to Southwark Crown Court.

Khan will be sentenced at a later date.

Many members of the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) for global LGBT+ rights, which Mr Blunt chairs, had resigned or said they would leave before Mr Blunt’s apology.

Mr Blunt’s criticism of the verdict was called “appalling” by one of the MPs, Labour’s Chris Bryant, who said that an attack of this kind on the judiciary by a lawmaker is wrong.

Kate Osborne of Labour and Joanna Cherry, Martin Docherty-Hughes and Stewart McDonald of the Scottish National Party all withdrew from the group.

Eleni Kyriakou

Eleni is a journalist and analyst at Parliament Magazine focusing on European News and current affairs. She worked as Press and Communication Office – Greek Embassy in Lisbon and Quattro Books Publications, Canada. She is Multilingual with a good grip of cultures, eye in detail, communicative, effective. She holds Master in degree from York University.