Julian Knight discusses the BBC and the elderly in 2021
Senior backbencher Julian Knight has told Express.co.uk he intends to take up his duties in Parliament again despite Rishi Sunak refusing to allow him to rejoin the Conservatives in Parliament. Mr Knight yesterday was declared innocent by the Metropolitan Police of sexual assault allegations made against him.
However, within hours of receiving the news, Mr Knight was informed by Tory chief whip Simon Hart, who answers to the Prime Minister, that he would not have the whip restored because another allegation had been made against him.
Express.co.uk understands from sources the allegation has not been raised with the police and Mr Knight has not been given any details of what he is accused of doing.
Mr Knight has confirmed to Express.co.uk he will be returning to Parliament after the Easter recess and will take up his role as chairman of the powerful Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee, which is currently running an inquiry into institutional racism at Yorkshire Cricket Club.
Mr Knight is a former BBC journalist who as chairman of the DCMS committee has led hard hitting inquiries into his former employers, cricket and the National Lottery.
But on December 7 2022, he was told to stay away from Parliament after an allegation was passed to police of sexual assault.
After being cleared yesterday he had hoped to resume his political career, although he made it clear he intended to pursue allegations he has made of bullying by the whips office and one of attempted blackmail.
In a statement, he said: “The fact is that there was never anything for the police to investigate. This was a single, false and malicious allegation initially brought to them by third parties, each of whom had their own clear motives for doing so.”
Criticising the party leadership and whips office, he added: “In publicly naming me in connection with the allegation, the Conservative Whips Office acted disgracefully and in breach of natural justice by removing my anonymity.
“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.”
He was also critical of the police for dragging their feet in the investigation.
He said: “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 .
“Instead, they waited four months, without ever talking to me, before deciding there was nothing for them to investigate.”
He added: “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.”
And in a sign that he intends to take action against the Tory leadership, he said: “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.”
Mr Hart swiftly responded by announcing that Mr Knight would not be allowed back into the party.
In a statement he claimed that “further complaints” were made against Knight.
He said: “These complaints, if appropriate, will be referred to the relevant police force, or appropriate bodies.”
Express.co.uk has contacted the Whips office for comment.
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