Former Conservative MP Imran Ahmad Khan, who was convicted earlier this month of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in 2008, previously advised the Home Office on a research paper investigating child sexual exploitation in the UK.
The research culminating in a paper, Group-based child sexual exploitation characteristics of offending, was prompted by several high-profile cases of sexual grooming gangs. The Home Office confirmed to The Guardian this week that the MP formed part of a panel that reviewed the work in 2020.
Khan attended online meetings with the panel of sexual exploitation experts in July, September and November of 2020 after having given a police statement under caution, addressing claims he had assaulted a minor, in May that year.
Commenting on the revelations this week, Labour’s Louise Haigh said the government should explain why it appointed Khan to the panel and whether the MP was a malign influence on the official government report into child abuse.
“Khan’s victim told the Conservatives about sickening sexual abuse, and they did nothing, and then shamefully appointed him to sit alongside survivors of child sexual exploitation,” the Labour shadow minister said.
“The Tories have serious questions to answer over how they gave this man free rein to exploit his position and victims of abuse. Boris Johnson and Priti Patel need to come clean about what the Conservative party knew and how they could possibly have put victims in this horrifying position in the first place.”
Khan’s victim has said that he contacted the Conservative Party just days before the 2019 general election and informed the party of the abuse he had suffered at the hands of the then Tory parliamentary candidate for Wakefield.
The Conservative MP was found guilty at Southwark Crown Court earlier this month of groping the teenager at a party in Staffordshire in January 2008. The jury heard that he had forced child to drink gin, dragged him upstairs and asked him to watch pornography before assaulting him.
Khan, who has represented Wakefield since 2019, continues to deny the offence and is awaiting sentencing. He was expelled from the Tory Party following the verdict and, after resisting calls to resign, has said he will step down as an MP.
The Home Office 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.”