Rotherham abuse survivor 'disgusted' at MP Imran Khan's role in government grooming paper

Imran Khan is awaiting sentencing for the offence. Credit: PA

An abuse survivor says she is "disgusted" that an MP was appointed to advise the government on child grooming while facing a police investigation into his own suspected crimes.

The now disgraced Wakefield MP Imran Ahmad Khan attended online meetings as part of a working group looking at the issue of exploitation, after being questioned under caution for sexually assaulting a teenage boy.

Khan, who was elected in 2019 as the first Conservative to represent the city in more than 80 years, said he would quit as MP this month after being convicted of attacking the 15-year-old at a party in 2008.

It has now come to light that Khan was part of a group asked to "review and inform" work on grooming gangs while under investigation by police.

  • 'He should not have been anywhere near that panel': Rotherham child sexual exploitation survivor and campaigner Sammy Woodhouse spoke to ITV News

Sammy Woodhouse, a high profile survivor of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham and now a campaigner on the issue, served on the panel along with Rotherham MP Sarah Champion and former Children's Commissioner Anne Longfield.

"This was important work that I undertook in good faith, but I am disgusted to have been put in a position where I was working with a man later convicted for child sexual assault," she said."Knowing now that the Conservatives had already received complaints from a victim about this man, it is gut-wrenching for me as a survivor that they could possibly have allowed him to be considered for this role."

Labour has called for the government to explain his attendance to the group meetings.

Shadow cabinet minister and Sheffield Heeley MP Louise Haigh told ITV News: "Khan’s victim told the Conservatives about sickening sexual abuse, and they did nothing and then shamefully appointed him to sit alongside survivors of child sexual exploitation.

"How could they possibly have put victims and survivors in this position?"

Khan was the first Conservative elected for Wakefield in more than 80 years. Credit: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA

On Monday, 11 April, Khan was found guilty of assaulting a 15-year-old boy at a house party in Staffordshire in 2008.

Southwark Crown Court heard that he groped the boy in a bedroom.

The victim reported the incident to police but decided initially not to press charges. However, he went back to police again when he learned Khan was to stand for election in Wakefield in 2019.

Khan was on the child exploitation panel in 2020 – after the victim's report to police and after, he says, he contacted the Conservatives with his allegations.

He was later suspended by the Conservatives but continued to sit as an independent MP. He was expelled from the Conservative Party following his conviction.

A Home Office spokesperson said that neither Patel nor the Home Office were aware of the claims against Khan before they were made public in 2021.

In a statement they said: "In his role as an MP, Mr Khan was asked along with several others to peer review a Home Office research paper.

"The Home Office was not aware of the allegations against him at the time and he no longer has any involvement with the department."

Imran Khan, who says he will appeal his conviction, will be sentenced in May.