"an accusation has been made against me."
A Tory MP has been charged with a sexual assault on a 15-year-old boy.
Imran Ahmad Khan, the Conservative MP for Wakefield, West Yorkshire, is accused of groping the teenager in Staffordshire in 2008.
His identity was revealed after reporting restrictions were lifted on June 18, 2021.
The charge, which was read out in Westminster Magistrates’ Court, stated:
“In the county of Staffordshire you intentionally touched a boy aged 15 and that touching was sexual when he did not consent and you did not reasonably believe that he was consenting, contrary to Section 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.”
The Crown Prosecution Service said it decided to charge Mr Khan after reviewing a file of evidence from Staffordshire Police.
The MP has had the Tory Party whip removed and will not attend parliament while the case proceeds.
A spokesperson on behalf of the Whips Office said:
“Imran Ahmed Khan has had the whip suspended.
“As there is an ongoing court case we will not be commenting further.”
Mr Khan appeared at court via video link. He pleaded “not guilty” to the single charge against him.
In a statement on Twitter, the Tory MP said:
“It is true that an accusation has been made against me.
“May I make it clear from the outset that the allegation, which is from over 13 years ago, is denied in the strongest terms.
“This matter is deeply distressing to me and I, of course, take it extremely seriously.
“To be accused of doing something I did not do is shocking, destabilising, and traumatic. I am innocent.”
“Those, like me, who are falsely accused of such actions are in the difficult position of having to endure damaging and painful speculation until the case is concluded.
“I ask for privacy as I work to clear my name.”
Chief magistrate Paul Goldspring said the case was not suitable for trial in a magistrates court.
The case will now be heard at the Old Bailey, with Mr Khan set to appear on July 15, 2021. He has been granted unconditional bail until then.
According to his website, Mr Khan was born in Wakefield, where he attended the independent Silcoates School before going to university at the Pushkin Institute in Russia and graduating from King’s College in London with a bachelor’s degree in war studies.
Before entering Parliament, he worked for the United Nations as a special assistant for political affairs in Mogadishu, Somalia.