Labour suspends controversial peer over claims he blamed a Jewish conspiracy for his dangerous driving jail sentenceLord Ahmed was jailed in 2009 for dangerous driving after texting minutes before a fatal crashInterview emerges where he links his prosecution to Jewish-owned mediaLabour condemns anti-Semitism and suspends 55-year-old form the party
Matt Chorley, Mailonline Political Editor
09:48 GMT, 14 March 2013
23:51 GMT, 14 March 2013
Labour peer Lord Ahmed has been suspended by the party over reports that he blamed a Jewish conspiracy for his jail sentence
A Muslim peer has been suspended from the Labour Party for allegedly blaming his prison sentence for dangerous driving on a Jewish conspiracy.
Lord Ahmed was sentenced to three months for sending text messages shortly before his car was in a motorway crash that killed a father of two.
But, in an extraordinary rant on Pakistani television, Lord Ahmed is alleged to have blamed his imprisonment on pressure from Jews ‘who own newspapers and TV channels’.
The peer, who became one of the first Muslim men in the House of Lords in 1998, is said to have claimed in Urdu that the conspiracy was a result of his support for Palestinians in Gaza.
And he allegedly said the judge who jailed him was appointed to the High Court after helping a ‘Jewish colleague’ of Tony Blair during ‘an important case’.
Labour leader Ed Miliband yesterday suspended Lord Ahmed and ordered an investigation into the incident, which is believed to have taken place last April.
Lord Ahmed’s alleged comments are so extreme they would have invited a prosecution for inciting racial hatred in Britain.
Mark Gardner, of the Community Security Trust, a charity that monitors anti-semitism, said: ‘If accurate, these comments will be the most blatantly anti-semitic remarks by such a public figure for many years.’
Martyn Gombar, a 28-year-old Slovakian living in Leigh, Lancashire, was killed on Christmas Day 2007 when his stationary car was hit by Lord Ahmed’s Jaguar on the M1 near Sheffield.
A police investigation found Lord Ahmed had sent and received five lengthy text messages while driving at speeds of up to 60mph.
The last was sent minutes before the fatal crash. Lord Ahmed pleaded guilty to dangerous driving at Sheffield magistrates court in December 2008 but the case was moved to a higher court.
Labour party leader Ed Miliband, pictured in the Commons yesterday, has suspended Lord Ahmed
At Sheffield Crown Court, Mr Justice Wilkie accepted Lord Ahmed’s texting had not caused the accident but imposed a jail sentence for the ‘prolonged, deliberate and highly dangerous driving’.
The Pakistan-born property developer was released after 16 days when the Court of Appeal suspended his sentence. In the Pakistani television broadcast it is alleged Lord Ahmed claimed he should have been sentenced by a magistrate.
He 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.’
Killed: Martyn Gombar was just 28 when he died
He claimed Mr Justice Wilkie was hand-picked and sent from London to carry out the sentence because no other judge was willing to handle his case. He was however the presiding judge on the north-eastern circuit, which includes Sheffield Crown Court.
During his television interview Lord Ahmed allegedly claimed his conviction was overturned. In fact, the Court of Appeal refused to quash the conviction and said: ‘There should not be one law for the rich and powerful and one law for the rest.’
The peer told the Times newspaper, which uncovered the footage, he had ‘no recollection’ of giving the television interview.
Labour is now coming under pressure to kick him out of the party.
Stephen Pollard, the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, blogged: ‘If one of Lord Ahmed’s respective party allies had said something similar about Muslims, you can bet your life that they would be drummed out of Westminster before you can say racist.’
In 2009 Lord Ahmed 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.
He was freed by the Court of Appeal
after serving only 16 days of his prison sentence and later supported an
AA/Populus poll into mobile phone use among motorists, saying he had 'learnt the hard way' about the problem.
He joined the Labour Party in his teens and was made a life peer in 1998.
Lord Ahmed was suspended from the Labour Party for three months last year over reports that he offered a 10 million-dollar 'bounty' for the capture of US President Barack Obama and his White House predecessor, George Bush.
The peer denied having made the comments, published in a Pakistani newspaper, and was reinstated after an investigation by Labour Lords Chief Whip Lord Bassam after it was found he had been misquoted.