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Imran Ahmad Khan has declared he will quit as Wakefield’s MP – triggering a by-election.
The former MP for Wakefield was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in 2008 earlier this week. This resignation comes just four days after he was removed from the Conservative Party following the verdict.
The MP, first elected in 2019, has now confirmed he is to quit politics, triggering a potentially difficult by-election for Boris Johnson. Khan had been resisting calls to stand down despite the Conservatives expelling him when he was found guilty this week.
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But on Thursday the disgraced politician said he would resign, saying it is “intolerable” for voters in the West Yorkshire constituency to have muted representation while he appeals the conviction. He said the move would allow him to “focus entirely on clearing my name”.
In a statement on Twitter, Khan said he had not believed it would be appropriate to resign while his appeals were ongoing, but that even the shortest timetable for his appeal would mean “legal proceedings could last many more months”.
He added: “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,” he said.
“Representing them has been the honour of my life, and they deserve better than this. Consequently I am resigning as MP for Wakefield and withdrawing from political life.”
He said he would write to the parliamentary authorities to confirm his intentions “shortly”.
“I am now able to focus entirely on clearing my name. As I intend for this to be my only statement, I would like to apologise to my family and community for the humiliation this has caused them,” he said.
Khan, who is gay and Muslim, added: “Questions surrounding sexuality in my community are not trivial, and learning from the press about my orientation, drinking and past behaviour before I became an MP has not been easy.”
Mr Khan won Wakefield by 3,358 over Labour former frontbencher Mary Creagh in 2019.
It comes eight months after a by election in Batley and Spen was marred by accusations of intimidation. That poll saw Kim Leadbeater hold the seat for Labour by only the narrowest of margins, with only 300 votes between her and the Conservatives while George Galloway came third.
Earlier this week, Southwark Crown Court heard how Khan forced the teenager to drink gin and tonic, dragged him upstairs, pushed him on the bed and asked him to watch pornography before the attack.
According to the victim, he was not “taken very seriously” when he reported the assault to the Conservative Party days before the 2019 election in which Imran Khan was elected.
The victim then complained to the police after Mr Khan won the seat in 2019.
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