Race row peer Lord Ahmed has resigned from the Labour Party this evening. Guido has his resignation letter:
Dear Mr Wilson (National Constitution Committee of the Labour Party Secretary)
I have been considering my position over the weekend and have concluded that I should resign from the membership of the party forthwith and so I do. However, I wish to set out briefly reasons for
I am being held to account following a publication in the Times of an interview alleged to have been given by me some two years ago to a Pakistani Anchor based in Pakistan. I do not recall when this interview was held where this interview was held and nor the person who carried out this interview. All I know is what has been reported in the Times. I reject the core story that emerges out of the alleged interview. It is noteworthy that the only evidence before the National Constitution Committee against me is the Times’ reporting and the translation of the purported transcript of the film. With regard to the offending film I submit NEC of the Labour Party has expressly admitted and I quote “it did not have the firm or video of the interview, reported by the Times and other media”.my decision to resign which I have taken with heavy heart:
In the premises, my solicitor, Steve Smith requested the Times to give disclosure of the footage of the film which is the only evidence against me to enable me to get it forensically tested. In response, my solicitor has one email from the Times promising that this would be disclosed to us. My solicitor indicated to the Times that we wished to have the film forensically examined and had indeed made arrangements for this to be carried out, then the Times backed out and declined to give disclosure of the film. One would then ask “if the film was accurate in its contents and nothing was taken out of context why would the Times be reluctant to disclose it to me.
I believe that justice of the case demands that the film of the interview should be subjected to forensic test in order to search for the truth of the matter. This has been denied to me.It is also quite plain that the Party has not made any independent inquiry before suspending me or even fixing the disciplinary hearing on 15th May 2013.Then the next evidence NEC is relying upon at the proposed disciplinary hearing is the translation of the purported transcript of the alleged interview. I and my solicitor, Mr. Smith has examined it. My solicitor has pointed out to NEC that the said translation has many gaps [inaudible] which put its credibility in issue. I believe it will be against the rules of natural justice to decide my political career in the Labour Party on the basis of the flawed evidence.
Moreover, there is extrinsic evidence which suggests that the translation could not truly be representative of what I have ever said and believe. My past record sufficiently bears this out. I was misquoted by the Daily Telegraph. However, following investigation by the Press Commission my position was vindicated by a finding in my favour. Only very recently my photograph was published in a Pakistani newspaper in which I was alleged to have been greeted by a certain politician there with whom I have had no contact whatsoever for the last 3 years. I was not even in Pakistan at the time and date when it was ascribed to me.
It is somewhat sinister that because of my pursuit of the inquiry of a murder of a Pakistani politician in the streets of London, there are elements in Pakistan who bears grudge against me and might it be the brain child of such elements to temper with the footage of the alleged interview. It is my honest belief that only by deliberate editing of the film unscrupulously such a story has been created and attributed to me to malign me as a member of the Labour Party and member of the House of Lords.
I therefore believe that in the absence of the forensic evidence of the offending video, a fair minded person having known of all the facts of this case would observe that I will not get a fair hearing of the complaint against me. Yet, I am at pains to point out that NEC is going ahead with the disciplinary hearing on 15th May 2013 solely on the basis of the reporting in the Times and the flawed translation of the transcript of the alleged interview.
I may add that much has been made of my “apology” which was published in the Huffington Post. I have made it quite clear previously and do so again that the apology was made without prejudice to my primary position as stated above and to assuage any feelings of antagonism that may been created against me that if at any time I may have said anything inadvertently I wanted to apologise for that. Needless to say that I have many Jewish friends and I felt it was important and necessary to do this.
I am most concerned that the Party which has freedom and justice as it core value and which I endear for decades is content to proceed against me on the basis of incredible and untested evidence. That in deed leads me to believe that the decision might have already been made. In the circumstances I seem to have no alternative but to resign from the Labour Party. I do not wish to unnecessarily provide bad press for the Party and/or do anything that would alienate voters from the Party having been a loyal supporter and servant of it for decades.
I will conclude by saying my thanks to the Labour Party – the Party I have served for nearly four decades. I wish it well in the forthcoming elections and whilst I may be resigning my heart will always be with the Party.
I will remain,
Yours very sincerely,
Lord Nazir Ahmed.