Julian Knight had Tory whip suspended after Met receives sexual assault claims

The Conservatives suspended senior MP Julian Knight after the Metropolitan Police received allegations of serious sexual assault, it has emerged.

The MP for Solihull criticised his party’s decision to suspend the Tory whip after a complaint was made to Scotland Yard as he claimed he had received threats involving blackmail.

Mr Knight said he had been at the “centre of a campaign of rumour and innuendo” as he described his suspension by the Tories as “wrong and unjustified”.

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At the time of his comment the nature of the allegations had not been disclosed, with the Tories only saying they acted after a complaint was made to the Met on Wednesday evening.

Then, a statement from the force said: “On October 28, police received allegations of serious sexual assault against un-named victims reported to have taken place on unknown dates at undisclosed locations.

“On December 7 a further referral relating to the incident(s) was made and an investigation was launched.”

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

The removal of the Tory whip means he no longer sits in the Commons as a Conservative, but he said he would be recusing himself from Parliament until the case is resolved.

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.”

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.

Mr Knight added that “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”.

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

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

Mr Knight has been contacted about the Met’s statement.