A Tory MP is facing trial accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in 2008, it can now be revealed.
Imran Ahmad Khan, 47, the Conservative MP for Wakefield, West Yorkshire, is alleged to have groped the teenager in Staffordshire.
Mr Ahmad Khan, who was elected at the 2019 general election, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday by video-link from his lawyers’ office.
He was named on Friday after reporting restrictions were lifted.
Mr Ahmad Khan has had the Tory whip suspended pending the outcome of the legal proceedings.
Imran Ahmad Khan can be named after reporting restrictions were lifted
Mr Ahmad Khan, from Wakefield, faces a single count of sexual assault against the teenager, who cannot be identified because he is an alleged victim of a sexual offence, in 2008.
The charge, which was read out in court, states: "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."
Asked to indicate a plea to the charge, Mr Ahmad Khan, who was represented by Sallie Bennett-Jenkins QC, said: "Not guilty."
Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring said the case was not suitable for trial in the magistrates’ court and sent the case to the Old Bailey.
He told Mr Ahmad Khan: "You must appear at the Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey, on July 15 at 9.30am. Between now and then you are granted unconditional bail.
"If you do not attend on that occasion, unless there is a very good reason, you potentially commit an offence. Do you understand that?"
Mr Ahmad Khan replied: "I do."
In a statement posted on Twitter, the Wakefield 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."
— Imran Ahmad Khan MP 🇬🇧 (@imranahmadkhan) June 18, 2021
According to his website, the MP 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.