London, Nov 17 (PTI) British Pakistani peer Nazir Ahmed, who claims to have been the longest-serving Muslim member in the House of Lords, has retired from the Upper House of the UK Parliament just days ahead of a report by its Conduct Committee recommended his expulsion on Tuesday.
The 63-year-old politician, with his roots in Pakistani-occupied Kashmir, was behind several anti-India protests over the years. He had appealed to the Lords’ Conduct Committee against the findings of the independent House of Lords Commissioner for Standards that he breached the parliamentary Code of Conduct.
He was found to have failed to act on his personal honour in the discharge of his parliamentary activities by agreeing to use his position as a member of the House to help a member of the public.
He was also accused of “sexually assaulting the complainant, lying to the complainant about his intentions to help her with a complaint to the Metropolitan Police regarding exploitation by a faith healer, exploiting the complainant emotionally and sexually despite knowing she was vulnerable”.
The nine-member Conduct Committee, which is chaired by Lord Jonathan Mance and includes four external members, dismissed Ahmed''s appeal against both the finding of breaches of the Code of Conduct and recommended the sanction of his expulsion from the House.
"Lord Ahmed resigned from the House of Lords on 14 November but the report, which was agreed by the committee and seen by Lord Ahmed before that date, recommends that he should have been expelled,” the committee notes.
Its report, entitled ‘The conduct of Lord Ahmed’, states that the public rightly expects parliamentarians to be held to a high standard of conduct as well as honesty and, when members fall short “egregiously”, the trust and confidence in Parliament of the public as well as of those working inside the House, and those having dealings with members of the House, are all undermined.
"The abuse of the privileged position of membership for a member’s own gain or gratification, at the expense of the vulnerable or less privileged, involves a fundamental breach of trust and merits the gravest sanction. Even though it is possible to think of even more serious breaches, the case in all its circumstances which we have set out crosses the threshold calling for immediate and definitive expulsion,” the report concludes.
Ahmed, a former Labour Party member who sat as an independent peer in the Lords, separately faces a trial in a court in northern England related to sexual assault allegations, which is scheduled for next year. PTI AK ZH