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Tory MP Imran Ahmad Khan charged with 2008 sexual assault of 15-year-old boy
18 June 2021, 17:16 | Updated: 18 June 2021, 18:43
The Conservative MP for Wakefield has been charged with sexual assault.
Imran Ahmad Khan, 47, is facing trial accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in 2008, it can be revealed after reporting restrictions were lifted.
The charge, which was read out in court, states: "In the county of Staffordshire you intentionally touched a boy aged 15 and that touching was sexual when he did not consent and you did not reasonably believe that he was consenting, contrary to Section 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003."
Asked to indicate a plea to the charge, Ahmad Khan, who was represented by Sallie Bennett-Jenkins QC, said: "Not guilty."
The victim cannot be identified because he is an alleged victim of a sexual offence.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Wakefield MP Imran Ahmad Khan, who was elected at the 2019 general election, said: "It is true that an accusation has been made against me.
"May I make it clear from the outset that the allegation, which is from over 13 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."
Rosemary Ainslie, head of Special Crime at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "The Crown Prosecution Service authorised police to charge Imran Ahmad Khan, MP for Wakefield, with one offence of sexual assault. The charge relates to an allegation of sexual assault in 2008.
"The CPS made the decision that Mr Khan should be charged after reviewing a file of evidence from Staffordshire Police.
"The CPS reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against Mr Khan are active and that he has a right to a fair trial. It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings."
Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring said the case was not suitable for trial in the magistrates' court and sent the case to the Old Bailey, where Khan will appear on 15 July.
Khan has been released on bail in the meantime.
According to his website, the MP was born in Wakefield, where he attended the independent Silcoates School before going to university at the Pushkin Institute in Russia and graduating from King's College in London with a bachelor's degree in war studies.
Before entering Parliament, he worked for the United Nations as a special assistant for political affairs in Mogadishu.
The Conservatives have suspended the whip from Imran Ahmad Khan after chief whip Mark Spencer was informed of the charges.
A spokeswoman for the Tory whips office said: "Imran Ahmad Khan has had the whip suspended. As there is an ongoing court case we will not be commenting further."
Ahmad Khan was said not to have been on the parliamentary estate since the charges were brought and is not expected to return while the case is ongoing.