Solihull MP Julian Knight will not stand in next general election

Solihull MP Julian Knight

MP Julian Knight has said he will not seek to get the Tory whip back and will not stand at the next general election after police dropped a sexual assault allegation against him.

The Solihull MP was suspended from the Tory Party over the case and called the claims “false and malicious”.

He was cleared by police of an allegation against him, but was told in March he would not have the Conservative whip restored.

Mr Knight has served as MP for Solihull since 2015, and was re-elected in 2017 with an increased majority and almost 60% of the vote.

Prior to entering the House of Commons, Julian worked as a personal finance and consumer rights journalist.

Today Mr Knight has made an announcement on Twitter about the next general election and said the past year had been the "worst of his life" for him and his wife.

The tweet thread reads: "I will not be standing for the Conservatives or any other party at the next general election.

"The past year has been for my wife and I the worst of our lives.

Julian Knight MP Credit: PA

"The false and malicious accusation brought against me last December did untold damage to my physical and mental well being as well as causing pain and distress to my loved ones.

"When the police finally exonerated me, without ever needing to interview me, I believed the nightmare was over. It seemed that justice, although delayed, had prevailed.

"However, the whips office immediately made a statement about unspecified further complaints which, tarnished my name and left my family and me in limbo.

"Over the past month I have tried to discover the nature of these allegations so that I could deny them, since I know I am guilty of no wrong-doing.

"However, no details nor timeline has been forthcoming from the Whips Office. I stress I am not under any sort of formal investigation by any Parliamentary authority.

"Nevertheless, I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that no job or political career is worth this.

"I will not be requesting the return of the conservative whip. I do this in sorrow and not in anger."

As a result Mr Knight said he will now sit until the general election in parliament as an independent – continuing to work for Solihull and his constituents. The chairmanship of the DCMS select committee is a party position that he says he has no choice but to relinquish, given his decision to remain an independent.

His thread on Twitter continued: "I do so with a sense of achievement and with my thanks to my cross-Party colleagues on the committee.

"I also wish to put on record my thanks to my local party members who have been a wonderful support to me during the decade during which I have had the privilege of representing.

"Most of all though I wish to acknowledge the support of my wife and loved ones during this traumatic and exhausting time."Now is not the time, but I will in due course be taking legal advice over whether I should follow up on the police’s recent invitation to register a criminal complaint regarding December’s false and malicious accusation."