The government has distanced itself from comments made by Tory MP Crispin Blunt in which he questioned Imran Ahmad Khan’s conviction.
Khan, the MP for Wakefield, was found guilty on Monday of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in 2008 and was expelled from the Conservative Party as a result of the conviction.
Mr. Blunt called the conviction a “dreadful miscarriage of justice” and “nothing short of an international scandal,” but his tweet about the case and statement on his website was removed on Tuesday morning.
Imran Ahmad Khan arrives at London’s Southwark Crown Court, where he is accused of molesting a 15-year-old boy in 2008. He is charged with sexual assault on a single count against the then-teenager, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.
The armed forces minister, James Heappey, told Sky News: “Mr. Khan was found guilty in a court of law yesterday.
“Anyone who believes in the judicial system and the rule of law must respect that decision.
“It’s Crispin’s responsibility to account for his words, but it’s not something the government endorses.”
When asked if Mr. Blunt would have the whip removed, Mr. Heappey said it was something “for people to look at today as they speak to Crispin, to figure out what this is all about.”
“Absolutely nobody in Her Majesty’s government is seeking to be critical of the court’s decision,” he added.
“If Mr. Khan wishes to appeal, that is his choice, but a court of law has found him guilty, and that is what the government believes he is.”
Mr. Blunt’s views have been described as “wholly unacceptable” by a Conservative Party source, who added, “Following exchanges last night, we expect the statement to be retracted first thing this morning.”