MP Accuses Tories Of ‘Witch Hunt’ After Refusal To Give Him Party Whip Back
A senior MP has accused the Tories of conducting a “witch hunt” against him after his appeal to have the party whip restored was turned down.
Julian Knight said he should be welcomed back into the Conservative fold after being cleared by police of a sexual assault allegation.
But government chief whip Simon Hart rejected his appeal after “further complaints” were made against him.
“These complaints, if appropriate, will be referred to the relevant police force, or appropriate bodies,” Hart said.
Knight, who has been MP for Solihull since 2015, hit back: “This statement from the chief whip smacks of [a] desperate attempt to cover up the identities and motives of those in parliament who colluded for many months to bring the false allegation against me to the police.
“The police have confirmed today that there is no evidence to support that allegation and closed their investigation. They did not even need to interview me to do so.
“Yet the whips office now seems intent on continuing a witch hunt against me in an attempt to prevent my naming names.”
Knight, who is chairman of the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee, recused himself from parliament last December.
Earlier this afternoon he hit out at the Tory whips for publicly naming him when the first allegation against him was made.
He said: “Their actions meant my name was dragged through the mud and my good reputation immeasurably damaged.
“The conduct of one person in the whips office, and the language used towards me, was particularly egregious.”
Knight also took aim at the police for the way they handled their investigation into him.
“Had the police taken the simple step at outset of interviewing me under caution, they would have seen that the allegation was false and scandalous,” he said.
“Instead, they waited four months, without ever talking to me, before deciding there was nothing for them to investigate.
“I have been left effectively to prove my innocence through my public statements and letters to the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and the chief whip. That cannot be right.
“It is now my intention to use every legal route available to pursue those inside and outside parliament involved in having this allegation brought against me.”
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