Crispin Blunt resigns as LGBT+ group chairman after criticism of Imran Khan conviction

Mr Blunt said: “On reflection, I have decided to retract my statement defending Imran Ahmad Khan. I am sorry that my defence of him has been a cause of significant upset and concern, not least to victims of sexual offences.

“To be clear, I do not condone any form of abuse and I strongly believe in the independence and integrity of the justice system.

“It is a particularly difficult time for LGBT+ rights across the world and my statement risks distracting the all-party parliamentary group for Global LGBT+ Rights from its important purpose. I have today offered the officers my resignation so a new chair can be found to continue the work of the group with full force.”

The LGBT group tweeted: “Having lost the confidence of the other officers, Crispin Blunt has now resigned as chair of the all-party parliamentary group. Members were shocked by Crispin Blunt’s recent comments – which he made in a personal capacity – about the conviction of his colleague Imran Ahmad Khan.

“Our group will always stand up for victims of abuse. An extraordinary general meeting will be held in due course to elect a new chair.”

Khan was thrown out of the Tory Party following the verdict and Mr Blunt had come under pressure from the Conservative hierarchy to withdraw his initial statement. Published on his website on Monday, it described the jury’s decision in Khan’s case as “nothing short of an international scandal”.

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