LONDON: A Conservative MP accused of sexually assaulting a teenage boy 13 years ago will stand trial in March next year. Imran Ahmad Khan, 48, allegedly groped the 15-year-old in January 2008 at a house in Staffordshire.
Mr Imran Khan, who was elected as Conservative MP for Wakefield, West Yorkshire, in 2019, appeared at the Old Bailey on Thursday via video-link. He had denied the single charge of sexual assault when he appeared at the Old Bailey in September.
Judge Mrs Justice McGowan provisionally fixed the two-week trial for March 21, 2022, at Southwark Crown Court, the Daily Mail, London has reported.
Earlier this year, Mr Khan posted a statement on Twitter which read: ‘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”, he stated.
He remains on unconditional bail ahead of his trial next year. Mr Khan, from Wakefield, helped Boris Johnson win a large Commons majority in 2019 – with the Tories now representing 45 per cent of the Northern Powerhouse constituencies.
He turned Wakefield – that was previously in the so-called ‘red wall’ that formed Labour’s heartlands in the Midlands and the north of England – blue with his win.
The ‘blue wall’ MP has had the Tory whip suspended pending the outcome of the legal proceedings.
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 Crown Prosecution Service previously said it made the decision to charge Mr Khan after reviewing a file of evidence from Staffordshire Police.
Staffordshire Police had probed the historic sexual assault claim for more than a year – but did not make an arrest during that time.
The MP – who has been suspended by the Conservative Party pending the outcome of the legal proceedings – faces a single count of sexual assault against the then-teenager, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.
Imran Ahmad Khan has become the first Ahmadi to be elected as a British MP after his historic UK General Election win. Khan won from his home constituency of Wakefield by gaining 21,283 votes.
Imran Khan beat Labour’s Mary Creagh by 3,358 votes, Creagh lost her seat after 14 years in Parliament. His win is historic both for United Kingdom’s Conservative Party and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to which he belongs. Under Khan’s leadership conservatives won the Wakefield seat for the first time after 87 years, and the Ahmadis for the first time have a man in British Parliament.
Imran Khan is also related to Karim Asad Ahmad Khan, who was recently appointed by the United Nations to lead an investigation into ISIS crimes in Iraq.
In a facebook post Imran Khan said: I was born in Wakefield and went to school here. I am a proud Yorkshireman. You may remember by late father; he was Wakefield’s only consultant dermatologist. My English mother trained in Wakefield as a State Registered Nurse and midwife, and my grandmother, Joyce Reynolds was a Staff Sister at Pinderfields.
After his election win Khan paid a visit to the local Ahmadiyya Centre and met local community members.
It is pertinent to mention that Wakefield in West Yorkshire was part of Labour’s ‘red wall’ for 87 years before Tory Imran Ahmad Khan won the seat in the 2019 General Election.
Labour MP Mary Creagh held the seat previously – but was beaten by Ahmad Khan by 3,358 votes. After his win, Ahmad-Khan said: ‘The first thing we must do is to keep faith in the people of Wakefield and…get Brexit done.’ The constituency first voted for Labour in 1932 – when Arthur Greenwood took the seat in a by-election.