LONDON – Britain’s Labour Party has suspended one of its lords after he allegedly blamed a Jewish conspiracy for his conviction for dangerous driving.
According to The Times of London, Lord Ahmed told a Pakistani television channel, “My case became more critical because I went to Gaza to support Palestinians. My Jewish friends who own newspapers and TV channels opposed this.”
He added that Mr. Justice Wilkie, the judge who sentenced him, was appointed to the high court after helping a “Jewish colleague” of Tony Blair’s during another case.
Pakistani-born Lord Ahmed, who in 1998 was one of the first Muslim men appointed to the House of Lords, hit a car that had stopped on the hard shoulder of a motorway on Christmas day in 2007, killing 28-year-old Martyn Gombar. Lord Ahmed, who admitted sending and receiving text messages two minutes before the crash, was sentenced to 12 weeks in jail in 2009, but served 16 days.
His alleged comments on Jews, made in Urdu last April, were published by The Times on Thursday. The Labour Party acted swiftly, suspending him “pending an investigation.”
“The Labour Party deplores and does not tolerate any sort of racism or anti-Semitism,” a spokesman said
Lord Ahmed claims he has ‘no recollection’ of the interview
Lord Ahmed told The Times of London he had “no recollection” of making the comments, but didn’t rule out the possibility.
“I’ve done a lot of interviews,” he reportedly said. “If you’re saying that you have seen this footage, then it may be so, but I need to see the footage and I need to consult with my [lawyers] before I make any comments in relation to this.”
Lord Ahmed has been suspended by Labour once before, in 2012, following allegations that while visiting Pakistan he had called for a £10 million reward to be paid to anyone who captured American presidents Obama and Bush, but he was later cleared and reinstated.
Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: “We are appalled by Lord Ahmed’s alleged comments, which recall the worst Jewish conspiracy theories. However outlandish and incredible his allegations, there will always be gullible or malicious individuals or groups that will accept what he has said and add to the growth of anti-Semitic discourse.
“We note that Lord Ahmed has now been suspended from the Labour Party pending a full investigation. If he is found to have indeed made the reported comments, he should be expelled from the Labour Party, as such views should have no space in responsible political discourse.”