Wakefield MP says accusation he broke coronavirus restrictions in football club visit is a 'lie' and 'attack'

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A Yorkshire MP has defended his visit to his constituency’s football club after being accused of breaking coronavirus restrictions.

A video of Wakefield MP Imran Ahmad Khan was posted on Twitter over the weekend after the club’s 3- 2 win against Wombwell Main FC.

Mr Ahmad Khan had attended the match, tweeting his support for the club and his insistence that they should be in the football league.

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He posted a photo of himself with the players on Twitter, which he said was taken in a socially-distanced manner.

But website Yorkshire Bylines accused him of breaking the Tier 2 rules which cover West Yorkshire by later gathering inside with more than 30 people.

Mr Ahmad Khan said the accusations were an “attack” which only highlighted “Wakefield’s MP working really hard”.

Mr Ahmad Khan said there were 300 people in the socially-distanced crowd, which is allowed under current rules as non-league clubs are allowed to admit up to 30 per cent of the lowest capacity for the level they play at, who witnessed him conducting his business in a Covid-safe way.

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He said he then had a meeting with the club’s director to discuss raising funds for the team, also allowed under an exemption to the rules for work.

Wakefield MP Imran Ahmad Khan. Photo: UK ParliamentWakefield MP Imran Ahmad Khan. Photo: UK Parliament
Wakefield MP Imran Ahmad Khan. Photo: UK Parliament

“That is a workplace, it’s not open to the public,” he said. “Then after I discussed that with the director they asked me if I would do a video for the team.

“I gave them a long interview and then when I came back up the players came back and then had an initiation - not a party - and they sang some songs, and straight after I left.”

He said it was a “lie” to say it was a party, that he was there in a professional capacity working as an MP, and he added: “If they want to highlight my hard work, they are welcome to.”

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A spokesman for Mr Ahmad Khan added: “Imran has and continues to observe the appropriate Government guidelines.”

Mr Ahmad Khan has previously highlighted Labour MPs breaking the rules, including MP Barry Gardiner who took part in London’s Black Lives Matter protests.

At the time he said former shadow minister Mr Gardiner had “fragrantly flouted the law” and had been “boasting that they have broken social distancing measures”.

He said there was a clear difference between meeting with the local football club to discuss funding opportunities and attending protests.