Lords Reject ‘Retirement’ Privileges For Nazir Ahmed

Lord Mance said the Conduct Committee is not moving a separate motion of expulsion because the Lord is no more a member of the House of Lords.  He also announced that the Lord will not be able to enjoy the privileges of retired member … reports Kaliph Anaz

Lord Nazir Ahmed, Baron Ahmed of Rotherham, has been denied the retirement benefits from the House of Lords as the Conduct Committee passed the enquiry panel report without a debate.

In an earlier interview, the former Lord was hoping to use the privileges like access to Parliament and using the library to run campaign for Kashmir and Palestine.

Lord Mance, a former Supreme Court judge and the chair of the Lords Conduct Committee, said the nine-member panel is unanimous in its decision to expel Lord Nazir Ahmed from the Upper House of British Parliament.

Also Read – Lord Nazir Takes Case To EU Court

Lord Mance said the committee provided an embargoed version of the report to Lord Ahmed on 12th November with its decision to expel him. But the Lord filed a notice to resign from the House on 14th November.

Lord Mance said the House has to accept the resignation because there is no provision to refuse or delay the Lords resignation letter under the House of Lords Reforms Act (2014). So the resignation will take place automatically on the date mentioned in the letter.

Lord Nazir Ahmed with supporters during a rally

Lord Mance said the Conduct Committee is not moving a separate motion of expulsion because the Lord is no more a member of the House of Lords.

He also announced that the Lord will not be able to enjoy the privileges of retired member.

“I can assure the House that the Lord will not retain none of the privileges of a retired member. If this motion is agreed today, then the House of Lords commission agreed with the immediate effect that Lord Ahmed will not entitle to member’s pass or be able to access any of the facilities of the house.”

The motion was passed unanimously. That’s the end of the Parliamentary career of the most controversial British-Asian politician.  

The Panel in its report says the Lord in not co-operative to the enquiry and broke the Conduct for a privileged member of the House.

 “I find that by sexually assaulting Ms Zaman on 2 March 2017, Lord Ahmed was therefore in breach of the Code by failing to act on his personal honour,” said Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, Commissioner for Standards. “I find that by failing to progress Ms Zaman’s case and lying about his intentions Lord Ahmed was acting without honesty or integrity. As such he was therefore failing to act on his personal honour and was in breach of the Code.”

Asian Lite cover on Lord Nazir Ahmed

The Commissioner also made two other findings: “I find that Lord Ahmed exploited Ms Zaman emotionally and sexually even though he knew she was receiving treatment for anxiety and depression.”

This, the Commissioner found, “exacerbates the seriousness of his breaches of the Code”.

“On important issues Lord Ahmed persistently gave deliberately inaccurate and misleading accounts to conceal his behaviour towards Ms Zaman … I consider that in conducting himself in this manner he has failed genuinely to co-operate with my investigation. He has failed to act on his personal honour, as evidenced by his dishonesty and lack of integrity

Lord Ahmed appealed against the panel findings. Although he did not deny that a sexual relationship had taken place, he did deny other aspects of Ms Zaman’s account and he did deny that he was in breach of the Code of Conduct.

The Committee’s findings include: “Nonetheless, we found nothing in Lord Ahmed’s appeal to persuade us that there was anything plainly wrong about the Commissioner’s overall finding, that Lord Ahmed breached the Code of Conduct by failing to act on his personal honour: (a) in sexually assaulting Ms Zaman on 2 March 2017 after they had dinner to discuss the complaint she wished to make to the police; and then (b) in exploiting her emotionally and sexually by lying about his intentions to help her between August and November 2017.

“As to the second of these, the Commissioner found that Lord Ahmed knew that he was dealing with a vulnerable person, who was undergoing treatment for anxiety and depression and who had already made clear that she did not want a sexual relationship. He nonetheless misleadingly induced her to visit him at his house under the pretext of offering to assist her as a member of the House of Lords in relation to the matters she had wanted to be raised with the police, when his true motivation was to induce her into a sexual relationship which on this occasion he succeeded in bringing about, lasting over the next three months. Conclusion 36. The Conduct Committee accordingly dismisses the appeal of Lord Ahmed against the Commissioner’s findings that he breached the Code of Conduct by failing to act on his personal honour in the course of his parliamentary activities.

Lord Ahmed appeals against the Commissioner’s main report and addressed some points relevant to mitigation in his oral submissions before the Committee.

His submissions, taken together, addressed: (a) his background, activities in life and good character, in support of which various references were also relied on; (b) the fact that this was the first time he had been found in breach of the Code of Conduct or anything similar; (c) the devastating impact the report and any subsequent expulsion would have on his personal, matrimonial and public life; (d) the fact that the Guide to the Code says that “the longer ago the conduct occurred, the more certain the Commissioner should be of the need for such a sanction before recommending it.”; and (e) the inappropriateness of any severe sanction in the light of the fact that the sexual relationship was consensual and in light of the nature of those breaches which have been found by the Commissioner and which have also been endorsed by the Committee; and in particular the disproportionality of the Commissioner’s recommended sanction of expulsion.

The Commissioner also said that Lord Ahmed was uncooperative and dishonest and so failed to act on his personal honour in relation to her investigation, in core areas of both the Commissioner’s main and her supplementary investigations on which the Committee has relied in this report, combines with the fact that he has continued to deny any wrongdoing and has shown no indication of any regret, remorse or understanding of the inappropriateness of his conduct or its effect on a vulnerable victim. The risk of repetition also cannot be excluded.

Lord Nazir made history when he became the first Muslim, Kashmiri, and Pakistani to enter the House of Lords as a Labour peer in 1998. Prior to that he was a councillor at Rotherham. He was a confidante of then prime minister Tony Blair. He later turned against him over Iraq War.

Ms Zaman alleged that the Lord sexually exploited her on various occasions at his second home in London. In the BBC Newsnight programme, another victim accused the Lord of asking her to spend a night with him in London in return of helping her husband in a business tussle.

Lord Nazir tried to use Racist and India cards to deflect the allegations against him. But the Committee rejected all the claims and recommends for his suspension. Prominent journalists from the British media, representing BBC, Sunday Times, The Times and Asian Lite deposed in front of the Committee.

Also Read – Lord Ahmed Quits Before Expulsion Over Sexual Misconduct

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