Politics

Veteran gay Tory MP Crispin Blunt to stand down at next election after controversy

Maggie Baska May 2, 2022
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Conservative MP Crispin Blunt stands on a stair case wearing a dark suit jacket, light blue shift and a red, yellow and dark blue striped tie

Conservative MP Crispin Blunt announces that he will be standing down at the next election. (Phil Lewis/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty)

Tory MP Crispin Blunt will stand down at the next general election, following severe backlash over his defence of a lawmaker found guilty of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.

Blunt apologised and resigned as chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Global LGBT+ Rights after a misguided defence of Imran Ahmad Khan, who recently resigned as an MP following his sexual assault conviction.

Now, Blunt has confirmed that he will not seek re-election, suggesting that his decision was made some time ago.

Blunt said in statement celebrating the 25th anniversary of his election as the MP for Reigate that he wanted to make public “what those closest to me have known privately for some time, that after seven increasingly tumultuous parliaments, this will be my last”.

“Whilst securing my re-election is no longer an interest, there will be continued joy in representing the citizens I’ve had the honour to serve for 25 years,” Blunt wrote.

He will continue on until the next election, currently set for 2024

Blunt wrote: “I still enjoy the personal motivation to do this to the best of my ability, using my experience in their interests, individual and collective; to help secure the future of the party that has given me this opportunity; and to also continue to call out long established populist views on policy shibboleths that continue to cause damage to our society and beyond.”

Crispin Blunt, one of the UK’s most prominent gay MPs, has been a staunch defender of LGBT+ rights in parliament.

He has been an outspoken critic of current prime minister Boris Johnson, as well as equalities minister Liz Truss

In recent times he has condemned the “unacceptable crisis in trans healthcare” in the UK and demanded the government spring into action to help trans people who are seeking gender-affirming surgeries abroad. 

He has also criticised the decision to drop a ban on trans conversion therapy ban, saying Johnson’s judgement has been “clouded by those with an agenda” against trans rights. 

Blunt was until recently chair of the APPG on Global LGBT+ Rights, which promotes LGBT+ rights in the UK and abroad.

However he resigned following severe criticism last month after he called Imran Ahmad Khan’s conviction for child sexual assault a “dreadful miscarriage of justice”

Blunt said in a since-retracted statement that Khan’s conviction was “nothing short of an international scandal, with dreadful implications for millions of LGBT+ Muslims around the world”. 

He alleged the “conduct of the case relied on lazy tropes about LGBT+ people” and even said he hoped for the “return” of Khan to the “public service that has exemplified his life to date”. 

Blunt later retracted his statement after he faced calls to be suspended from the Conservative Party, and apologised that his defence of Khan caused “significant upset and concern not least to victims of sexual offences”.

He clarified that he doesn’t “condone any form of abuse” and “strongly” believes in the “independence and integrity of the justice system”. 

Offering his resignation as chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), he wrote: “It is a particularly difficult time for LGBT+ rights across the world and my statement risks distracting the APPG for Global LGBT+ Rights from its important purpose.

“I have today offered the officers my resignation so a new Chair can be found to continue the work of the group with full force.”

 

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