Former Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee Chair Julian Knight has been cleared by the Metropolitan Police of the sexual assault allegation which saw him lose the Conservative whip in December. In a statement released this afternoon, Knight tore into the whips’ office for publicly naming him on the basis of “a single, false and malicious” claim which “meant my name was dragged through the mud and my good reputation immeasurably damaged”:
“The fact is that there was never anything for the police to investigate. This was a single, false and malicious allegation initially brought to them by third parties, each of whom had their own clear motives for doing so. In publicly naming me in connection with the allegation, the Conservative Whips Office acted disgracefully and in breach of natural justice by removing my anonymity. Their actions meant my name was dragged through the mud and my good reputation immeasurably damaged.
“The conduct of one person in the Whips Office, and the language used towards me, was particularly egregious. Had the police taken the simple step at outset of interviewing me under caution, they would have seen that the allegation was false and scandalous. Instead, they waited four months, without ever talking to me, before deciding there was nothing for them to investigate. I have been left effectively to prove my innocence through my public statements and letters to the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and the Chief Whip. That cannot be right.
“It is now my intention to use every legal route available to pursue those inside and outside Parliament involved in having this allegation brought against me. Meanwhile I look forward to the immediate return of the Conservative Whip so that I can again represent my constituents on behalf of the Party, as a member of which, they elected me.”
Threatening to sue…
UPDATE: A spokesperson for Chief Whip Simon Hart says Knight will not have the whip restored because of “further complaints“…
“Following further complaints made to the Whips Office, we will not be restoring the Whip to Julian Knight. These complaints, if appropriate, will be referred to the relevant police force, or appropriate bodies.”