The Conservatives have reacted furiously after a former government minister branded the conviction of an MP for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy, a “dreadful miscarriage of justice”.
Crispin Blunt MP caused outrage with a statement saying he was “utterly appalled and distraught” by the conviction by jury of his “friend and colleague” Imran Khan.
Khan, who represents Wakefield, was expelled by the party yesterday.
This comes after the Conservatives cancelled an LGBT+ conference after supporters and sponsors pulled out over its stance on so-called conversion therapy.
Blunt, the MP for Reigate and former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Prisons and Youth Justice, called it a “dreadful miscarriage of justice” and “nothing short of an international scandal, with dreadful wider implications for millions of LGBT+ muslims around the world.”
He said he “sat through some of the trial. The conduct of this case relied on lazy tropes about LGBT+ people” and as “a former Justice Minister I was prepared to testify about the truly extraordinary sequence of events that has resulted in Imran being put through this nightmare start to his Parliamentary career.”
“I hope for the return of Imran Ahmad Khan” he said, and “any other outcome will be a stain on our reputation for justice, and an appalling own goal by Britain”.
The Conservatives distanced themselves from his remarks, saying according to the BBC: “A jury of Mr Khan’s peers has found him guilty of a criminal offence. We completely reject any allegations of impropriety”.
Stewart McDonald MP also resigned from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global LGBT+ Rights in protest, which Blunt chairs. He said on Twitter: “This was the first APPG I joined as an MP and it meant a lot to me. Parliament needs a respected and robust LGBT group and Crispin can no longer provide that leadership. He should stand down.
Labour’s chair Anneliese Dodds called it “disgraceful” prime minister Boris Johnson and her opposite number Oliver Dowden to “take action against this Tory MP and distance their party from his comments.”.