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MP doubles down on defence of convicted child sex abuser ex-Tory Imran Ahmad Khan
22 May 2022, 16:55
Conservative MP Crispin Blunt has doubled down on his controversial defence of ex-Tory MP Imran Ahmad Khan, who was convicted of sexually assaulting a teenage boy.
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Crispin Blunt, the Tory MP for Reigate, argued the disgraced politician didn't get a "fair trial" and believes he was wrongly convicted.
Khan, the former Wakefield MP, was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in 2008.
The 48-year-old was expelled from the Conservative Party in April with "immediate effect" and has since resigned as an MP.
He is appealing against the conviction and is due to be sentenced on Monday.
Mr Blunt was called "disgraceful" after he defended his fellow Tory last month, claiming Khan was the victim of a "dreadful miscarriage of justice".
He retracted his initial statement, insisting he "does not condone any form of abuse".
He said he "strongly believes in the "independence and integrity of the justice system".
However, in a new interview the Tory MP reiterated his defence of Khan, saying he "did not get a fair trial".
"I didn't know Imran - I got to know him in the first few weeks of 2019 and 2020 and thoroughly enjoyed his company, and could well see why he'd be a terrific parliamentarian with an enormous amount to contribute," he told the BBC.
"And so this issue, then, arising for me is ... his conviction. And I don't want to ... I saw what happened (at the trial). I remain totally convinced."
Mr Blunt admitted he did not attend the whole trial, but said: "I know what decisions were made within the trial, which meant that, in my judgment, he did not get a fair trial or anything remotely like that."
Pressed on whether he still believes that now, he said: "Yes, I do."
Mr Blunt also said he was not present in court for the witness evidence.
Asked if he therefore thought he knew more than the jury, he said: "Yes inevitably, because quite a lot of the trial was conducted without the jury being present."
He added that it remains his judgment that he had seen "a serious miscarriage of justice".
On what he would say to people who were upset by his stance, Mr Blunt said: "Of course, the justice process is not complete, because ... Imran has the opportunity to appeal the conviction.
"And I remain very confident that a justice system worthy of the name will restore his good name.
"The victims ... who have been victims of sexual assault will obviously have felt immensely strongly about the nature of my statement. But it is perhaps (in) the nature of some of my politics ... to seek to make the case ... for people whom others won't."
The Conservative Party condemned Crispin Blunt's views as "wholly unacceptable", while a whips office source said it is expected all Tory MPs respect court judgments.
Earlier this month, the MP for Reigate announced he would stand down at the next election.
Khan is formally appealing against the conviction. He is due to be sentenced on Monday.