Politics

Boris Johnson refuses to criticise paedophile Tory MP’s place on sex abuse panel

Boris Johnson has declined to apologise after it emerged that a Tory MP who molested a 15 year-old boy was advising the government on child sexual exploitation.

Imran Ahmad Khan, the then Conservative MP for Wakefield, was sitting on a Home Office-backed expert panel in December 2020, a year after his victim says he had complained to the Conservative party.

Mr Khan was expelled from the Conservatives after his conviction this year and his Wakefield constituency will get a new MP at by-election.

At prime minister’s question on Wednesday Jeff Smith, the Labour MP for Manchester Withington said: “Last night we learned that the Home Secretary put the member for Wakefield on an expert panel offering advice on sexual exploitation.

“At the time he was under a police investigation following allegations he assaulted a minor, for which he has since been found guilty.

“He sat on this panel long after the Conservative party had received a complaint from his victim.

“Isn’t the prime minister ashamed that his party didn’t take the victim seriously and put someone who abused a minor in such an important position, and would he like to take the opportunity to apologise to them?”

But Mr Johnson brushed aside the suggestion, and replied: “I believe the Home Office has already made a statement about it and if there’s any further comment to make they will be making a statement.”

Mr Khan said earlier this month that he is appealing against the conviction. He has said he will formally quit as an MP, though by-election in his seat may be pushed back until June.

A Home Office spokesperson has said that neither Home Secretary Priti Patel nor the Home Office itself were aware of the claims against Mr Khan prior to them being made public in 2021.

“In his role as an MP, Mr Khan was asked along with several others to peer review a Home Office research paper,” the spokesperson said.

“The Home Office was not aware of the allegations against him at the time and he no longer has any involvement with the department.”

Priti Patel told MPs on December 2020 that Mr Khan was part of “an external reference group, consisting of independent experts on child sexual exploitation” which “reviewed and informed” a paper on “the characteristics of group-based child sexual exploitation”.

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