A former member of the United Kingdom’s parliament has been sentenced to more than a year in prison after being convicted for sexually assaulting a minor more than a decade ago.
On May 23, Imran Ahmed Khan, the former Tory MP for Wakefield, was sentenced to 18 months after being found guilty in April of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old male during an encounter in January 2008.
The victim claimed that Khan had forced him to ingest alcohol, and then “pushed him onto a bed, and asked him to watch pornography.”
He said Khan touched his feet, legs, and “came within a hair’s breadth of his genitals” while falling asleep on top of a bunk bed.
The victim had originally gone to the police shortly after the incident, but declined to make a formal complaint until years later, after Khan was elected to Parliament in 2019.
According to the UK news outlet Metro, the victim also claimed he informed the Conservative Party of the incident, but his claims were met with skepticism. He claimed that a party spokesman allegedly told him, “Well, you go do that” when he announced his intention to file an official complaint with police.
For his own part, Khan has denied the allegations, saying he only touched the boy’s elbow.
During Khan’s sentencing, Justice Jeremy Baker said that he believed Khan only felt regret for having “found [himself] in the predicament [he] faces as a result of [his] actions.”
According to The Guardian, the Tory MP had been somewhat of a strange case to begin with.
Though Khan was the first “openly gay Muslim” to be elected to a political office in the UK in 2019, he initially denied this characterization and forced LGBT+ Conservatives, the official LGBTQ outreach arm of the Tory Party, to correct a statement that he was gay.
It wouldn’t be until after he was charged with sexual assault that he would openly acknowledge his sexuality.
The news of Khan’s sentencing comes amid a period of high political tensions for the LGBTQ community in the UK. Back in April, the UK Government came under fire for refusing to flatly ban conversion therapy, banning it for gay people but not for transgender people.
Many media outlets in the United Kingdom – from both the left and the right – regularly demonize the LGBTQ community, often sensationalizing stories that involve LGBTQ individuals, especially trans people. More recently, fears over monkeypox infections have led some people to scapegoat gay men as vectors for the disease.
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!