Wakefield by-election: What happens now after MP Imran Ahmad Khan resignation after sex assault conviction

Imran Ahmad Khan resigned on Thursday (14 April), triggering a by-election for the Wakefield seat.

By Abi Whistance
Friday, 15th April 2022, 12:47 pm
Updated Friday, 22nd April 2022, 9:52 am

The Wakefield MP was convicted of sexually assaulting a minor earlier this week, leading to his expulsion from the Conservative party.

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His resignation means that a by-election will be held to find a new MP for Wakefield, but who will that be?

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Below is everything you need to know about the upcoming by-election, and what will happen to Imran Ahmad Khan now he is convicted.

When will the by-election be held?

When the by-election will be held is determined by the Conservatives.

The party has referred inquiries about when the vote will be triggered to the chief whip's office, and a ‘writ’ will need to be issued to The Speaker of the House to start the process.

Wakefield MP Imran Ahmad Khan was convicted of sexually assaulting a minor earlier this week, leading to his expulsion from the Conservative party.

As parliament is currently in recess for Easter, the earliest this can happen is 19 April.

Once the writ is voted through the house by MPs, the by-election is usually held between 21 and 27 working days from the date it was issued.

Who are the potential candidates for the Wakefield seat?

There are a number of possible candidates for the seat, with many names being suggested in the run up to the by-election.

So far, deputy leader of Wakefield Council Jack Hemingway is considered a front runner for Labour, announcing his intention to run on Facebook last week.

Other potential candidates for Wakefield include Sam Howarth, who works for South Yorkshire mayor Dan Jarvis, and Law student Jakob Williamson.

Why did Imran Ahmad Khan resign?

In a statement posted on Khan's social media, he said that he had decided to resign due to “long delays in the legal process” which have left his constituents “without visible parliamentary representation for a year.”

Khan is planning to appeal his conviction, adding: “I am now able to focus entirely on clearing my name. As I intend for this to be my only statement, I would like to apologise to my family and community for the humiliation this has caused them.

What was Khan found guilty of?

Khan, 48, was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old at Southwark Crown Court on Monday (11 April).

Jurors heard he forced the teenager to drink gin and tonic before dragging him upstairs and carrying out the attack at a house in Staffordshire in January 2008.

Khan had gone to the boy's bed and "reached in and touched his legs, reaching for, or actually touching, his groin".

Will Imran Ahmed Khan go to jail?

Khan has not yet been sentenced to a jail term, however the judge said that he would be sentenced at a date soon to be arranged.

Mr Justice Baker said: “You have been convicted by a jury of this offence of sexual assault and you will have to be sentenced in due course.

“I make it clear that all sentencing options, including immediate custody, are being considered by the court.”

How long had Imran Khan held the seat in Wakefield?

Khan was the first Tory candidate to win in Wakefield since 1931, gaining the seat in the 2019 general election under Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Khan won Wakefield by 3,358 votes over Labour former frontbencher Mary Creagh, however it is suspected that this by-election may prove more of a challenge for the Conservatives.

After the recent Partygate fines and Sunak's non-dom scandal, the Conservatives face an uphill battle to keep a hold of the Wakefield seat now up for grabs.