MP Kate Osborne resigns from Global LGBT+ Rights group in protest against group chair Crispin Blunt following support for Imran Ahmad Khan after his sexual assault conviction
Jarrow MP Kate Osborne has resigned from her position as part of the All-party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Global LGBT+ Rights after the group’s chair, Crispin Blunt, defended fellow Conservative MP Imran Ahmad Khan following his conviction of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.
Khan, who has been expelled from the Conservative Party, was found guilty of the offence which took place at a party in Staffordshire in January 2008.
Responding to the conviction the MP for Reigate, Mr Blunt, posted a message on his website which described the verdict as a "dreadful miscarriage of justice".
In the statement, which has since been retracted, he then went on to say he was "appalled and distraught" by the outcome of the trial, calling it "an international scandal, with dreadful wider implications for millions of LGBT+ Muslims around the world".
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He added: "I hope for the return of Imran Ahmad Khan to the public service that has exemplified his life to date."
Responding the post of support for his fellow Tory MP, Mss Osborne announced her immediate resignation from her position on the group.
In a post on Twitter she initially said: “A Tory MP defending a fellow Tory MP who is now a convicted sex offender. I don’t know where to go from there.”
Ms Osborne then followed up her initial post an hour later when she added: “Tonight I resigned from my position on the APPG on Global LGBT+ Rights. I can not sit on a committee or associate myself with a committee chair who holds such views.”
The Jarrow MP was joined in her decision by fellow Labour MP Chris Bryant and Scottish National Party MPs Stewart McDonald, Joanna Cherry, and Martin Docherty-Hughes.
Following Mr Blunt’s statement, Shadow justice secretary Steve Reed said the Prime Minister “should suspend Blunt from the Conservative Party for this utterly reprehensible statement".
Explaining his retraction in a social media post, Mr Blunt said: “I’m sorry my defence of him has been a cause of significant upset and concern, not least to victims of sexual offences. It was not my intention to do this.
"To be clear, I do not condone any form of abuse and I strongly believe in the independence and integrity of the justice system.”
Khan has also said he intends to appeal his conviction.