14 Mar 2013

Lord Ahmed suspended over ‘Jewish conspiracy’ claims

The Labour party suspends Lord Ahmed after the peer was alleged to have blamed Jews for his imprisonment for dangerous driving.

The Labour party suspends Lord Ahmed after the peer was alleged to have blamed Jews for his imprisonment for dangerous driving.

According to the Times, Lord Ahmed blamed his prison sentence, for sending text messages shortly before his car was involved in a fatal crash, on pressure placed on the courts by Jews “who own newspapers and TV channels”.

The Muslim peer allegedly told an Urdu-language broadcast in Pakistan that the judge who jailed him was appointed to the high court after helping a “Jewish colleague” of Tony Blair during an important case.

He allegedly claimed that his imprisonment was related to Jewish disapproval of his support for Palestinians in Gaza, which he visited in 2008.

A Labour spokesman said: “The Labour party deplores and does not tolerate any sort of anti-semitism. Following reports in the Times today we are suspending Lord Ahmed pending an investigation.”

Lord Ahmed was suspended from the Labour party for three months last year over reports that he offered a $10m “bounty” for the capture of US President Barack Obama and his predecessor, George Bush.

The peer denied making the comments, published in a Pakistani newspaper, and was reinstated after an investigation.

Dangerous driving

In 2009, the Pakistani-born property developer was jailed for 12 weeks for dangerous driving after sending and receiving text messages minutes before his car crashed into a stationary vehicle on the M1 near Sheffield on Christmas Day 2007.

Martyn Gombar, a 28-year-old Slovakian who was in the stationary car, was killed.

Lord Ahmed was later freed by the appeal court after serving only 16 days of his prison sentence.

The Times said it had obtained video and audio of an Urdu-language TV interview, believed to have been broadcast in April last year, in which he discussed the decision to sentence him at Sheffield crown court, rather than a magistrates’ court with lesser sentencing powers.

He allegedly said: “My case became more critical because I went to Gaza to support Palestinians. My Jewish friends who own newspapers and TV channels opposed this.”

Channel 4 News tried to reach Lord Ahmed for comment, but was unsuccessful.

He told the Times that he had “no recollection” of the Pakistani TV interview, adding: “I’ve done a lot of interviews. If you’re saying that you hav seen this footage, then it may be so, but I need to see the footage and I need to consult with my solicitors before I make any comments in relation to this.”