Imran Ahmad MP
resigns from Parliament
after sexually assaulting
a 15-year-old boy

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LONDON: The UK’s ruling Conservative Party faces a tough by-election test after former MP Imran Ahmad Khan quit parliament on Thursday following his conviction for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

Imran Ahmad Khan

Imran Khan, 47, who represents the northern English city of Wakefield, said he would resign in order to “focus entirely on clearing my name”. “While legal proceedings are ongoing, I do not believe that it would ordinarily be appropriate to resign,” he wrote on Twitter. “However, owing to long delays in the legal process, my constituents have already been without visible parliamentary representation for a year.

“Consequently I am resigning as MP for Wakefield and withdrawing from political life.” A jury found Khan, who has been kicked out of the Conservative Party, guilty of sexually assaulting the boy after forcing him to drink gin at a party in 2008.

According to BBC report, Imran Ahmad Khan, who has represented Wakefield since 2019, said he was appealing against the conviction. But he added it was “intolerable” for his constituents not to be represented properly while he goes to the courts.

The decision will trigger a by-election for his seat, which had previously been held by Labour for 87 years.

Imran Khan had a majority of 3,358 votes in 2019 in the West Yorkshire seat, which is seen as being part of the Conservatives’ Red Wall of former Labour strongholds in the North of England.

British MP Imran Ahmad Khan arrives at Southwark Crown Court to stand trial over sex offence claims in London.

Earlier this week, Southwark Crown Court found Khan guilty of groping the teenager at a party in Staffordshire in January 2008. The jury heard he had forced the youngster to drink gin, dragged him upstairs and asked him to watch pornography before assaulting him.

The verdict saw the Conservative Party expel him “with immediate effect”. Khan, who is 48 and has continued to deny the offence, is awaiting sentencing. If he received a prison term of more than a year, he would be automatically disbarred from being an MP.

Letter from Imran Ahmad Khan

Posting on Twitter, Khan said it would not “ordinarily be appropriate to resign” while legal proceedings were continuing.

But he added: “Owing to long delays in the legal process, my constituents have already been without visible parliamentary representation for a year.

“Even in the best case scenario, anticipated legal proceedings could last many more months.

“I have therefore regrettably come to the conclusion that it is intolerable for constituents to go years without an MP who can amplify their voices in Parliament.”

It will be up to the Conservative Party when the by-election for his Wakefield seat will be held.

But parliamentary rules state they have to move a writ – the legal process to trigger a by-election – within three months, and the vote has to take place between 21 and 27 days later. A Conservative spokesperson said: “Decisions will be made in due course by the chief whip’s office.”

Anonymity plea

During the trial, the victim, who is now 29, said he was “not taken very seriously” when he made an allegation to the Conservative Party press office in December 2019, days before Khan was elected as Wakefield’s MP. The victim went to the police days after the election.

Conservative sources told the BBC the party had found no record of a complaint being made about Khan in the run up to polling day.

Khan tried and failed to ban media reporting of the case, with his lawyers arguing that his life could be at risk, as the consumption of alcohol and homosexuality are strictly prohibited within his faith.

But a risk assessment by West Yorkshire police counter-terrorism security advisers concluded that there was “no objective threat to [the] defendant’s life that would arise from being named as the defendant in these allegations”.