A top aide to UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was refused clearance required to work in parliament over security concerns but has worked there regularly anyway, entering with the help of other staff members, Huffington Post UK reported Wednesday.
Corbyn’s private secretary Iram Awan was hired in late 2017 but was denied clearance due to concerns by security services over her associates, the report said. There were no details on who those associates were or how they could compromise security.
Despite this, Awan has regularly been working in the Commons, the report said, with other Labour staffers routinely meeting her at the entrance and waving her in to security personnel, apparently as a supposed visitor. The report alleged that this behavior has been practiced for the past nine months.
“Visitor passes are for visitors only,” a parliament spokesperson told the news site. “They cannot be used to carry out work on the parliamentary estate. While we are unable to comment on specific cases, any alleged breach of the rules on passes will be investigated by the House authorities.”
The report said little is known of Awan, but noted that she has donated to Helping Households Under Great Stress, a group that seeks to “provide financial, emotional, and practical support and advice to Muslim households impacted by counter-terrorism, national security and extremism-related laws, policies and procedures in the UK and abroad.”
Iram Awan, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s Private Secretary, was refused a security pass on advice from MI5 and has been working at his office in Parliament on a Visitors’ Pass for nine months https://t.co/vD46lLmnms
— Joe Rich (@joerichlaw) September 11, 2018
Corbyn has himself come under scrutiny for his associations. In recent months, photos and videos have emerged of Corbyn and other Labour officials making anti-Semitic and virulent anti-Israel comments.
The Israel Advocacy Movement recently tweeted footage of Corbyn accusing Israel of committing genocide against Palestinians during a 2014 rally, as a Hamas flag waved behind him. Corbyn infamously called the terror group “friends” prior to his election as Labour leader two years ago, a statement he has since walked back.
Another photo published recently showed Corbyn hosting a panel featuring a senior Hamas officials in 2012, including members convicted of murdering Israelis in terror attacks.
In August, the Daily Mail published photos of Corbyn in 2014 laying a wreath at the grave of the Palestinian terrorists who murdered 11 Israeli athletes in the 1972 Munich Olympics.
Corbyn initially claimed he attended the ceremony at the Cemetery of the Martyrs of Palestine, in Tunisia, to commemorate the 47 Palestinians killed during an Israeli bombing raid there in 1985. But images recovered from a Palestinian Embassy archive by the paper showed Corbyn holding a wreath in front of a plaque dedicated to members of Black September.
“A wreath was indeed laid by some of those who were at the conference to those that were killed in Paris in 1992,” Corbyn later admitted, adding that he while he was present at the ceremony, he didn’t “think I was actually involved in it.”
Corbyn faced fresh criticism after the Daily Mail published a video of a 2013 speech in which he asserted that “Zionists” were unable to grasp “English irony” despite often having lived in Britain for years.
Corbyn told attendees of a Hamas-endorsed conference in London that “Zionists… clearly have two problems. One is they don’t want to study history, and secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony either. They needed two lessons, which we could perhaps help them with.”
The conference featured several controversial speakers, including one who advocated boycotting Holocaust Memorial Day and another who blamed Israel for the 9/11 terror attacks in New York.
But Corbyn defended his remarks, insisting that his mention of “Zionists” was not a euphemism for the Jewish people.
Claims of anti-Jewish prejudice within Labour have grown since Corbyn, a longtime critic of Israel, was elected leader in 2015. UK Jewish groups have accused him of failing to expel party members who openly express anti-Semitic views.
The crisis over anti-Semitism in the Labour Party — including its failure to fully adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance‘s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism until last Tuesday — has caused a major schism within its ranks and led Jews to express fears over their future in the country.
Corbyn says anti-Semitism has no place in the Labour Party, but he has been roundly criticized over reports of rampant anti-Jewish prejudice, for his own allegedly anti-Semitic statements and activities, and for not backing the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism. When the IHRA definition was adopted by his party last week, Corbyn sought in vain to add a caveat asserting that it is not anti-Semitic to call Israel’s existence racist.
Agencies contributed to this report.