Just when the Tories hoped their expulsion of Imran Ahmad Khan from the party following his guilty sentencing this afternoon would end this latest chapter in party scandal, along came fellow MP Crispin Blunt. A few hours ago Blunt published a jaw-dropping statement in defence of Khan, in which he claimed elements of the proceedings were homophobic and said he hopes “for the return of Imran Ahmad Khan to the public service that has exemplified his life to date.” His statement has already resulted in three of Blunt’s colleagues on the APPG for LGBT+ rights resigning.
This evening Guido can reveal Blunt’s statement has outraged his local party, sparking a furious row in a local WhatsApp chat which Blunt has now quit. Crispin pre-announced his statement, which was greeted by demands for further clarity over his claim the result was a “miscarriage of justice”. Another chimed in asking their MP, “Do we really want to defend someone like this?? I agree with you completely [first incredulous responder]”.
With his back against the wall, Blunt came out with the following two messages:
”As one detail you might like to reflect on the investigating officer in 2008 noted “this was not a sexual assault” There is so much more , that will hopefully ensure his appeal succeeds”
“I am deliberately giving a counter narrative to ask people to allow the appeal to take place before his reputation is wholly beyond recall, as everyone has rushed to judgement. I am adamant he should not have been charged, far less convicted 14 years after an event that was minor or any scale.
I’m Sorry but this was a rotten day for British justice and I will stand up for truth as I see it before me.”
A councillor replied that while he didn’t doubt Blunt’s “sincere intentions”, “please think of your local association and Council colleagues who will have to answer to your actions on the doorstep – even more so if any appeal is quashed”.
When an irritated Blunt retorted with, “please don’t presume to lecture me on my competing responsibilities, I am well aware of them”, the councillor shot back with this devastating response:
Blue on blue just before the local elections – no doubt exactly what CCHQ wanted to see this evening…
UPDATE: Tory source tells Guido “Crispin’s views are wholly unacceptable. Following exchanges late last night we expect the statement to be retracted first thing this morning.” Tick tock…
Second breaking courtroom news today as Wakefield MP Imran Ahmed Khan – who had the Tory whip removed upon being charged – has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in 2008. This is going to be a very difficult by-election for the Tories…
This afternoon, Caroline Nokes repeatedly grilled Boris over the government’s sexual harassment strategy – just two days after she accused the PM’s father, Stanley Johnson, of groping her in 2003. In the excruciating exchange, Nokes pressed Boris over the possibility of “making public sexual harassment a specific crime“, and the efforts to increase rape prosecutions across the country. Not an easy watch…
A petition calling for Sadiq Khan to reinstate the night tube has reached 105,815 signatures, at the time of going to pixel. The petition set up by Ella Watson, an intern at UN women, slams Khan’s decision to keep the night tube closed over the winter of 2021/22 claiming that it will have a “disproportionate impact on women” who risk harassment whilst walking home at night “and low-income groups” who cannot afford to travel home in taxis. Khan’s budget problems, rather than the pandemic, explain why the night tube can’t be reopened.
The petition adds that over 70% of women in the UK have experienced sexual harassment in public and references the recent, tragic, and high-profile murders of Sabina Nessa and Sarah Everard which she claims “epitomises the fear women face of walking alone or standing on the streets in the evening and at night”. The petition calls on Sadiq Khan as well as Boris Johnson, tube boss Andy Byford, Grant Shapps, and Elizabeth Truss to “take responsibility for women’s public safety and reopen the night tube this winter”.
A spokesperson for Sadiq Khan says the mayor is committed to re-opening the service “as quickly as possible”. No date has been set for when the night tube will be rolling again…
Red wall Tory MP, Imran Ahmad Khan, appeared at Westminster Magistrates this week over a historic “groping” claim. Khan has pleaded “not guilty”. The case involved the alleged sexual assault of a 15 year-old boy.
“May I make it clear from the outset that the allegation, which is from over thirteen years ago, is denied in the strongest terms. This matter is deeply distressing to me and I of course, take it extremely seriously. To be accused of doing something I did not do is shocking, destabilising, and traumatic. I am innocent. 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. I ask for privacy as I work to clear my name.
He will appear at the Old Bailey next month…
UPDATE: He has had the Tory whip removed pending the outcome.