Tory MP convicted of years of sexual assault over ‘bullied staff’ – POLITICO

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A Conservative MP convicted of sexual assault this week had a history of “bullying behavior” towards staff and “should never have been chosen to run for Parliament,” according to several former staffers and party colleagues who claim having had longstanding concerns about the behavior of Imran Ahmad Khan.

The case puts further pressure on the Conservative Party over its vetting process for MPs and how to deal with complaints from staff following recent reports of another Tory MP in the Sunday Times.

On Monday, Khan was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old in 2008, a conviction he has said he will appeal. He initially vowed to remain MP while he fights sentencing, but resigned on Thursday after being contacted about allegations of bullying.

Two former employees said Khan frequently yelled and yelled at his employees, leaving them distraught. POLITICO shared footage of a rant in which he berated his team for nearly two hours.

According to colleagues, an assistant was on sick leave after bullying and then left politics. Another employee said her treatment led to panic attacks and the use of anti-anxiety medication.

Khan employed several young men who had just graduated and whom he was able to “intimidate,” two ex-employees and a party official said, while his behavior toward women was “misogynistic.” Parliamentary records show that he had a high turnover of staff, with workers rarely staying for more than a few months.

After being charged with sexual assault, Khan discussed details of the case with his office. A recording of this conversation was shared with POLITICO. Khan dismissed the victim as politically motivated and members of the justice system as “biased”. He suggested inviting a documentary team to follow him to release a film once he cleared his name.

Ex-colleagues also spoke of inappropriate office management. Khan rented a large three-bedroom house in Wakefield as his constituency office, paying on top of the taxpayer-funded subsidy and using it to store personal items like beds and other furniture while aid workers were “crammed into one room to maintain social distancing.” He attempted to rent rooms at the Wakefield estate and offered them to his associates.

The local party was aware of his behavior but was itself paralyzed by infighting, members said. Khan was chosen at the last minute to fight for the Wakefield Yorkshire seat after the previous candidate was voted out over offensive social media posts. In 2019 he was elected to Parliament.

A party member who worked with Khan raised concerns about his behavior towards her employer after repeatedly yelling at her, and the employer complained to Conservative Party headquarters in March 2021, according to two people familiar with the case. The complainant said he had received assurances that the matter had been dealt with internally.

A party official said they had no record of the complaint, stressing that the review procedures had been reviewed since 2019.

Employees who say they were bullied by Khan have called for an investigation into how he was picked in the first place and his behavior not caught, as well as safeguards to prevent anything similar happening again. The Conservative Party’s campaign headquarters declined to comment.

“It’s hard not to conclude that something is seriously wrong with the review process,” said a former employee. “He should never have been chosen.”

Khan was stripped of the Conservative whip after being impeached, meaning he was kicked out of the party at Westminster and could only remain in the House of Commons as an independent MP, and was expelled from the party entirely after being found guilty . He declined to comment on the allegations his former colleagues had leveled at POLITICO. Tory MP convicted of years of sexual assault over 'bullied staff' - POLITICO

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