As an up and coming human rights lawyer specialising in anti-establishment cases, you can understand why Sadiq Khan might have been interested in getting as many controversial briefs as possible. However Khan’s two visits to the terror suspect Guido referred to yesterday, Babar Ahmed,were made ,he claimed at the time, in his capacity as a “friend”. The Sir Christopher Rose Report into why Khan was bugged on those visits concluded that he made no effort to reveal to prison security that he was an MP. Despite this, two years later the then Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman misinformed the lobby by saying Khan was there “acting as a local MP”.
Gordon Brown’s spokesman and Babar Ahmad’s own sister Sara have claimed that Khan and Babar were friends since their childhood. However Khan told constituents in 2006 that he had only known him for a fifteen years and told Parliament that it was even less time. But what did he tell the prison authorities?
When he was filling out an application to visit Babar Ahmad in 2005 Khan told the prison that he had known Ahmad “since they were 12 or 13 years old; they were locals and attended the same mosque”. That’s wasn’t what Khan was saying publicly a year later.
If it was a honest mistake then clear it up and have Hansard corrected, but as it stands Khan has mislead the House of Commons. Along with the deliberate removal of details of their relationship from his own website, Khan is looking very slippery here. There is a big difference between meeting someone as a boy of 12 and a man of 21.
Still the questions remain:
- Given Khan did not tell the prison authorities he was an MP when visiting Ahmad in 2005, why was the PMOS briefed, presumably by Khan himself, that he was there on parliamentary business?
- Why did Khan try to downplay the extent of his friendship with Ahmad in 2006 only to have the truth revealed by Sir Christopher Rose, Sara Ahmad and the PMOS in 2008?
For a lawyer he can certainly be careless with the facts, hardly appropriate for the Justice Department…