Wakefield by-election: why did Imran Ahmad Khan resign, when is vote, who could replace him in constituency?

Tory MP Imran Ahmed Khan has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy while at a party in 2008. (Credit: PA) Tory MP Imran Ahmed Khan has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy while at a party in 2008. (Credit: PA)
Tory MP Imran Ahmed Khan has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy while at a party in 2008. (Credit: PA) | PA
Khan became the first Conservative to serve as MP for Wakefield in 87 years after the 2019 election

Tory MP Imran Ahmed Khan has resigned as MP for Wakefield after being convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

The 48-year-old politcian was found guilty by a jury at Southwark Crown Court earlier this week.

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Khan’s conviction has led to widespread condemnation from political opponent, with Labour calling for an immediate by-election in his Wakefield seat.

He has now resigned from his post, triggering a by-election in the former Labour consituency of Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

Why did Imran Ahmed Khan resign?

In a statement posted to social media, Khan said that he had made his decision to resign due to “long delays in the legal process” which have left his constituents “without visible parliamentary representation for a year.”

He said: “I have therefore regrettably come to the conclusion that it is intolerable for constituents to go years without an MP who can amplify their voices in Parliament.

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“Representing them has been the honour of my life, and they deserve better than this.

“Consequently I am resigning as MP for Wakefield and withdrawing from political life.”

Khan is planning to appeal the conviction in the comming months, adding: “I am now able to focus entirely on clearing my name. As I intend for this to be my only statement, I would like to apologise to my family and community for the humiliation this has caused them.

“Questions surrounding sexuality in my community are not trivial, and learning from the press about my orientation, drinking, and past behaviour before I became an MP has not been easy.”

His resignation has triggered a by-election in Wakefield.

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Khan was part of the 2019 Conservative co-hort which dismantled the so-called Labour ‘red-wall’ in the north of England, gaining a majority of 3,358.

Khan was the first Tory candidate to win in Wakefield since 1931, however the marginal seat is now up for grabs again.

When is the Wakefield by-election?

So far, the date for the Wakefield by-election has not been confirmed.

A ‘writ’ will need to be issued to The Speaker of the House to begin the process.

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As parliament is current in recess for Easter, this will not happen at least until the house sits again on 19 April, however it can take up to three months after the vacancy becomes available.

Once the writ is voted through the house by MPs, the by-election is usually held between 21 and 27 working days from the day it was issued.

What was Imran Ahmed Khan found guilty of?

Southwark Crown Court heard that Khan had plied the 15-year-old boy with gin before forcing him to watch pornography and touching his feet and legs at a party in Staffordshire in 2008.

The victim, now 29-years-old, said that he was left feeling “scared, vulnerable, numb, shocked and surprised” as a result of the encounter, adding that Khan, who was 34 at the time, had come within “a hair’s bredth” of his genitals.

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Khan told the teenager that he was “good-looking” in what the victim described as a “love whisper” in his ear, before reaching through the wooden bars of a top bunkbed to touch his feet while he pretended to be asleep.

The politician is said to have “worked his way around the bed”, “slowly caressing” the young boy up his leg.

The victim said: “I freaked out and jumped out of the bed and ran as fast as I could.”

He told his parents of the incident as soon as it happened and a police report was made, however the investigation did not progress as 15-year-old did not want to make a formal complaint.

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It was 12 years later, during the 2019 general election, that the victim notified the Conservative Party press office of his experience with their candidate after “it all came flooding back” when he recognised Khan.

However he said that his complaint was not “taken very seriously” at the time.

He then went to police days after Khan won the Wakefield seat.

Is Imran Ahmed Khan going to jail?

Khan has so far not been sentenced to a jail term.

The judge, Mr Justive Baker told Khan that he would be sentenced at a date soon to be arranged.

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Mr Justive Baker said: “You have been convicted by a jury of this offence of sexual assault and you will have to be sentenced in due course.

“I make it clear that all sentencing options, including immediate custody, are being considered by the court.”

In the meantime, he has been released on bail.

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