08 December 2022

Julian Knight says removal of Tory whip ‘wrong and unjustified’

08 December 2022

A senior MP who has had the Tory whip removed after a complaint was made to the police has branded the move “wrong and unjustified”, and suggested he could be the target of a “campaign of rumour and innuendo”.

Julian Knight, who represents Solihull, said on Thursday he will be recusing himself from Parliament until the matter is resolved.

The Conservatives suspended the whip from Mr Knight on Wednesday after a complaint was made to the Metropolitan Police, the party said, meaning he no longer sits in the Commons as a Tory.

In a series of tweets, Mr Knight said: “I have heard nothing from the police, the Whips Office or Parliament’s Internal Grievance Service, or been the subject of any investigation by the latter. Nor have I ever been warned or spoken to by the Whips Office about any allegations of misconduct.

“I believe their withdrawal of the whip is wrong and unjustified.

“Some months ago I accepted the resignation of a staff member following a full inquiry into his conduct regarding House of Commons security issues and, separately, allegations of bullying against him.

“Subsequently, I have received what my lawyers advise are explicit threats involving blackmail, as well as being at the centre of a campaign of rumour and innuendo.

I will be recusing myself from Parliament until the matter is resolved

“All matters are now with my lawyers and I will be recusing myself from Parliament until the matter is resolved.”

A Tory source insisted that Chief Whip Simon Hart got in touch with Mr Knight to remove the whip, disputing his claim that he had not heard from the Whips Office.

A spokeswoman for Mr Hart declined to comment on the nature of the complaint.

Mr Knight is the chairman of the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee and has represented the West Midlands constituency since 2015.

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