A survivor of the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal said she was “disgusted” an MP found guilty of molesting a teenage boy was placed on an expert panel on child sexual exploitation with her.
Sammy Woodhouse criticised the Conservative Party for putting her in that position when they had already received complaints from the victim about Imran Ahmad Khan.
Khan, 48, who was a Conservative MP, was convicted earlier this month of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy while at a party in Staffordshire in 2008 and stood down after his conviction.
He reportedly attended several online meetings with sexual exploitation experts in 2020 and peer-reviewed a Home Office research paper entitled “Group-based child sexual exploitation characteristics of offending”.
His victim, now 29, told a court he contacted the Conservative Party press office days before the December 2019 general election to tell them what Khan had done to him. He went to the police days after Khan was elected as Wakefield’s MP.
Khan was sent a questionnaire by Staffordshire Police in early 2020 to address allegations he had assaulted a minor, which he denied.
Boris Johnson dodged a question from Labour at PMQs on Wednesday about whether he was “ashamed” his party “didn’t take the victim seriously” and whether he would apologise for having Khan on the panel.
Ms Woodhouse, who was groomed and abused as a teenager in Rotherham, said on Wednesday: “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.
“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.”
A Home Office spokesman said neither Home Secretary Priti Patel or the department were aware of the allegations against Khan before they were made public last year.
He said Khan never directly advised the department on policy related to child sexual exploitation.
“In his role as an MP, Mr Khan was asked along with several others to peer-review a Home Office research paper,” the spokesman said.
“The Home Office was not aware of the allegations against him at the time and he no longer has any involvement with the department.”
Labour MP Louise Haigh has demanded the PM and Ms Patel reveal what the Tory Party knew about the reports of child sex abuse against Khan.
Ms Haigh said: “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 in this position?
“The Tories have serious questions to answer over how they gave this criminal free rein to exploit his position and victims of abuse.”
Khan was expelled from the Conservative Party following the verdict on 11 April.
He was resisting resigning as an MP but eventually said he would so he could focus on appealing the verdict.
The court heard Khan forced the boy to drink gin and tonic at a party before dragging the teenager upstairs, pushing him onto a bed and then asking him to watch pornography before sexually assaulting him.