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Historic first: Lord Ahmed of Rotherham to be expelled from House of Lords (you’ll never guess what for)

In the old days, peers were put to death, not expelled. In Edward VI’s time, the Venetian ambassador, dining with some six or so Englishmen, was astonished to learn that all but one of them had at least one ancestor who’d been executed for high treason. The ambassador started talking about how amazed he was at just one exception – but was promptly kicked under the table by his neighbour, who whispered in his ear, “You’re embarrassing the poor fellow – it means he’s not quite a gentleman.”

It seems Lord Ahmed of Rotherham is not quite a gentleman either. Today, the Lords Conduct Committee stated that he has done what a Lord Ahmed of Rotherham who desired to oppose stereotypes would have refrained from doing. They are treating his sexual assault of Ms Zaman on 2 March 2017 as fact. They add

at no point in the process did Lord Ahmed show any remorse or take any responsibility for any aspect of his conduct towards the complainant…

Of course, it never seemed to me that Nazir Ahmed of Rotherham was that plausible a candidate for either gentleman or lord.

– In 2009, texting on his phone while driving his Jaguar on the M1 motorway, he killed a man. He was given a 12 week prison sentence but served only 16 days. He blamed his conviction on a Jewish conspiracy.

– Also in that year, Dutch politician Geert Wilders was invited to the House of Lords by three peers of the realm to show his film FITNA, but was prevented from entering Britain by the Home Office (perhaps I should have tagged this post ‘immigration’, as well as ‘UK affairs’?). To give his party colleagues (PM Gordon Brown and Home Secretary Jacqui Smith) cover for that decision, Ahmed threatened to lead 10,000 Muslims to the Palace of Westminster to prevent Wilders from entering it, and to take the people who had arranged it to court if Wilders was let in.

Nothing about this breaking story on the BBC last I looked. I’m sure they’ll mention it sometime.

36 comments to Historic first: Lord Ahmed of Rotherham to be expelled from House of Lords (you’ll never guess what for)

  • Lee Moore

    They are treating his sexual assault of Ms Zaman on 2 March 2017 as fact.

    Not too keen on the idea of expelling a member of the legislature for a “crime” that has not yet been proved in a court of law.

    I’m catching a faint whiff of banana.

  • The Pedant-General

    Just gone up 4 mins ago:
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-54975932

    He’s a shyster, but she’s a woman scorned too:
    “She says they continued to meet at Lord Ahmed’s house where they had sex.

    But Ms Zaman says that after two months he made it clear he wasn’t going to leave his wife and the affair ended. She says she realised she had been exploited.”

    This is morning after regret. Hold no candle for the man, but there are more egregious examples of BBC bias than this. It was after all a BBC newsnight investigation that caused the report to be done (so they say)

  • John

    I rarely defend the bbc and heaven knows they publicise some newsnight investigations with a great deal more enthusiasm than others. Still in this case they seem to have done ok. Swallows and summers etc.

  • Snorri Godhi

    In the old days, peers were put to death, not expelled.

    That made sense.

    The central message of Machiavelli’s Prince (in my arrogant opinion) is that the people are not the enemy of an ambitious member of the ruling class: the enemies are always fellow members of the ruling class.

    Towards fellow members of the ruling class, an ambitious member should be ruthless.
    Towards the people, he should be libertarian:
    cut spending, cut taxes, crack down on crime, do not take their property, and do not abuse their women.

    Machiavelli gave this advice in the ruler’s own interest, but it seems excellent advice.

  • PJH

    What’s happened to Lord Ahmed of Rotherham’s trial regarding historic child sexual abuse regarding the alleged buggery of a boy under 11 and a the attempted rape of a girl under 16? (Rotherham Advertiser article)

  • Penseivat

    If, as the BBC report suggests, he ‘retired’ from the House of Frauds, before being kicked out, does that mean he keeps his pension? I seem to recall that, some years ago, he called out about the ability of Police officers to retire, and retain any pension, before they could face disciplinary action leading to dismissal from the force.

  • John Tee

    Isn’t there another more serious offence waiting to go to court? Or am I thinking of another Lord Ahmed of Rotherham?

  • Mr Ed

    Penseivat,

    There’s no pension from being in the House of Lords, it’s just a daily allowance tax-free of c. £305 per day for each sitting day that he attends, plus the subsidised restaurants etc. (I believe the bars wouldn’t interest him). So he’s lost a nice little earner and also (I infer) access to Parliamentary privilege including no liability to civil arrest for contempt of court whilst Parliament is in session. He keeps the title FWIW.

    Government Ministers in the House of Lords and the Lord Speaker get a salary, but that’s separate.

  • What’s happened to Lord Ahmed of Rotherham’s trial regarding historic child sexual abuse regarding the alleged buggery of a boy under 11 and a the attempted rape of a girl under 16? (Rotherham Advertiser article)

    My impression from a quick check of news sources suggests that the virus was the reason / justification for delaying that trial yet another few months still – it may go ahead in the new year.

    The Lords Committee expelled him for “failing to act on his personal honour” (to a degree startling even in politics, I assume they meant; I never thought Lord Ahmed either noble or gentlemanly, so doubt he ever had any personal honour to act on). He may face more serious charges next year, but probably not in what remains of this year.

  • Andrew Douglas

    It is mentioned on the BBC website, but there is no mention of his Party affiliation. Wonder why!

  • Paul Marks

    An important historic point is that whilst nobles were often executed their LAND was normally left with their families.

    This is because English “feudal” law was a very different thing from Roman Imperial law or modern “law” both of which are whatever the ruler or rulers (there can be group rulers – such as a Parliament) say they are.

    It was difficult in English Common Law to get past the entails, trusts and so on – so land was normally left with the family of the person executed.

    This is very important economically – and meant that England (and other “Feudal” lands) was NOT a despotism – unlike the Roman Empire or modern Western countries (which are despotisms in the sense that the law is whatever the state says it is).

    For the Scottish situation see John Dundas “A summary view of the feudal law with the differences of the Scots law from it” (1710) which points out that under “feudal” law the ruler or rulers could not even take land to build a road – if a landholder refused to sell, they had to build ROUND his land (and he still had right of access).

    Also in Scots “Feudal” law (although not in English law) a title of nobility went with the land itself – it was NOT a gift of the ruler or rulers.

    So if a merchant bought land with a title – he gained that title of nobility, and the feudal obligation to lead his tenants into war, if needed.

    Dr Johnson noted that his friend Boswell was known, in Scotland, by the name of his estate (not his family name) – thus showing that a “ghost” of this form of thinking remained even in the 18th century.

    One last thing about Scots Law – till 1845 no written contract was needed for the sale of land or other rights, one simply had a public ritual before witnesses.

    In the case of fishing rights – this involved the formal (ritualised) handing over a fish. In the case of the land itself – the formal (ritualised) handing of some soil with a verbal description of the land being sold.

    Although little used by 1845 such rituals remained lawful till then, with written documents not being strictly needed.

  • Yes indeed Paul (Paul Marks, November 18, 2020 at 7:11 am): when Elizabeth I, in her badinage with Leicester, remarked that “The Dudleys have been traitors for three generations.”, one notes in passing that there was still a latest-generation Dudley at her court for her to jest with about it. And the historical anecdote in my quote shows that in her brother’s reign there were several who had the state to dine with the Venetian ambassador despite each having an ancestor who left the Tower “shorter by the head”.

    Dr Johnson noted that his friend Boswell was known, in Scotland, by the name of his estate (not his family name) – thus showing that a “ghost” of this form of thinking remained even in the 18th century.

    That ghost survives (though is now but rarely seen or heard) even today. And in England too, the House of Commons rule that you must refer to members by the name of their seat is a mild modernising of the 18th century form, when you would not have said e.g. “the member for Carnwath” but just “Carnwath”, treating the geographical seat as the elected member’s title in imitation of the House of Lords style.

    Conversely, the willingness to execute the actual nobles was arguably greater than in France, where nobility was more often a “get out of execution free” card. The French thought the English brutal; the English thought the French arbitrary. You see the same effect in taxes. French nobles avoided paying tax. English nobles had more political power.

  • Sadly, the age-old ‘allegations must be proved in court’ doesn’t exist anymore. It catches genuine bad ‘ins too, but that doesn’t make it right, of course.

  • Penseivat

    Mr Ed,
    Thanks for that info and I stand corrected. Being a lowly serf, I assumed that members of the upper house received a pension or gratuity on retirement. Will bear that in mind when I am ennobled :-).

  • JuliaM (November 18, 2020 at 8:48 am), in general, your point is sadly valid about some trends in modern society.

    In this particular case, the Lords Committee specifically note (in one point of their rejection of Lord Ahmed’s appeal) that their standard of evidence for assessing fitness to be a Lord is properly different from that of the police in bringing a case or of a court in convicting on it. From Lord Ahmed suing someone over making the accusation, through the Lords Committee ruling whether he specifically abused his rights and duties as a Lord in it, through someone suing him for civil damages over it, to him being on trial in a criminal court for it, there are a range of rules for assessing what can and what cannot be treated as fact by a given forum on balance of evidence or beyond reasonable doubt.

    Because Lord Ahmed’s requested meeting with Ms Zaman on 2 March 2017 was ostensibly so that he, in his capacity as a Lord, could progress a matter that she, as a citizen dealing with government, had raised, I’m unsurprised the Lords got involved. It is sometimes said, “It’s not the crime but the coverup”. The committee report describes Lord Ahmed’s exculpatory evidence as faked and collusive, and this presents as the kind of thing that can be known with a certainty well beyond ‘he said, she said’. When all the dust has settled, it would not surprise me if we felt more sure ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that he faked the evidence he did not do the assault than (if we exclude the implications of that) that he committed it.

    Time may reveal more. It may reveal some exculpatory – or at least doubt-raising – evidence, or it may reveal that faked exculpatory evidence is being recycled into the public domain.

  • Lee Moore

    In this particular case, the Lords Committee specifically note (in one point of their rejection of Lord Ahmed’s appeal) that their standard of evidence for assessing fitness to be a Lord is properly different from that of the police in bringing a case or of a court in convicting on it.

    “Properly” ?

    Don’t you find it a wee bit alarming that the legislature can expel some of its members, without an actual conviction ?

    I find the idea of “fitness” to be a Lord, or an MP, a very peculiar concept. Not to mention a little moustachioed.

  • Sorry State

    Anything that brings the House of Frauds into disrepute is fine by me. Sack the whole lot.

  • asiaseen

    Don’t you find it a wee bit alarming that the legislature can expel some of its members, without an actual conviction ?

    I find the idea of “fitness” to be a Lord, or an MP, a very peculiar concept.

    The Chinese Communist Party has adopted the concept with a vengeance in Hong Kong in the political establishemnt and with shades of it happening in the Judiciary

  • Inverness Docksides Clown

    Niall:

    Review first in your mind everything you have read and heard about this Lord Ahmed bloke. Include his own words, spoken in public, under any and all circumstances.

    Bring IT ALL into the room you have set aside in your mind.

    Do you have a wife, a daughter, a sister, a mother, an aunt, a grandmother, a grand-aunt, a female cousin, or any female friends or even acquaintances?

    Would you feel safe seeing them with Lord Ahmed, or would you chase him off, with a shotgun, a broadsword and a mace with a clear sense that his life will be ended, and violently, if you even hear that he has been in their presence again.

    Yes?

    Than he’s worth tossing from the House of Lords.

    Life can be that simple.

    It’s Intellectuals and Methodists (and C of E wimps) what make it complicated enough to be a danger to themselves and the people who are forced to turn to them for safety.

    And Toffs cut out from Ordinary Life.

  • Inverness Docksides Clown

    Penseivat:

    At the University of York there is a Hall that is older than the rest of the campus … which is modern dreck, poorly designed, with a man-made pond so shallow it is toxic with goose droppings.

    One of the Lords of that hall started out in Trade, married the daughter of an Aged but penniless family, and took his wife’s name,

    No doubt she took his money.

    One of the Sherlock Holmes stories has a villain from an Old Family whose estate so so bankrupt he lives off his H of L stipend.

    Membership in the H of L can mean selling your daughters (and sometimes your sons – Randolph Churchill, anyone?) off to the Ghastly Nouveau Riche for the funds to fix the leaky roof. They think they are better than the Third World Types who sell their daughters off for livestock, but are they, really?

  • Inverness Docksides Clown

    Honestly, Samizdata should stick to matters like this Ahmed the Rapist Bloke.

    Some matters are of too great a consequence for the sort of minds who congregate here at Samizdata.

    Like has the Leader of the Free World sunk so low it might as well be Formerly Great Britain? And will that country have an election worth voting in again, or break up into fiefdoms who would and perhaps should as soon Nuke their neighboring states or large Democrat-run cities rather than trust them again?

    Toffs should stick to their Evening Port.

  • Yes?

    Than he’s worth tossing from the House of Lords.

    Life can be that simple.

    It’s Intellectuals and Methodists (and C of E wimps) what make it complicated enough to be a danger to themselves and the people who are forced to turn to them for safety.

    And Toffs cut out from Ordinary Life.

    This remark here making me pretty much disregard your views on this & several other things as you clearly have zero idea what the issue is that alarmed Niall: Rule of Law.

    The House of Lords may look like a geriatric social club to you, but it ain’t… it is part of the legislature, part of the political infrastructure of the UK. And this odious creep was ejected from it because he became disfavoured. Now if you can’t see the potential problem with that, might I suggest you are not thinking very hard. This is not about the odious cunt who got kicked out, it is about ejecting a political legislator (admittedly a less important one than a Commons MP) because he was odious (“not a fit person”), rather than he broke any laws. Frankly this piece of shit was not a fit person to be a lord in the first place but they made him one.

    Now if that concept escapes you, perhaps you really should just leave topics like this to the toffs.

  • Fraser Orr

    I agree with the sentiment above that this person, while far from one you’d have round for dinner, doesn’t seem to have been given a fair shake here.
    Nonetheless, the whole absurdity of it strikes me. The very notion of a House of Lords, like we are some medieval anachronism, is ridiculous. And let’s remember that they are called “peers” not because they are equal to proletariat like you and I, but that they are peers within the nobility. It is one of those wonderful obfuscations of language to call them such since they are explicitly not peers except among their own exalted selves.

    BTW, I have been watching Season four of “The Crown” on Netflix (so spoiler alert.) Something that really struck me is that they have an episode about Michael Fagin (the guy who broke into the Queen’s bedroom) and that is the subject of the episode, whereas the Falklands’ war is just background noise. And the point really is to make Thatcher look like a heartless monster, paying for a far off war while poor old Michael can’t get a job. Fair warning for you all, I haven’t finished it, but it is a total hit job on Thatcher. They portray her in a really horrible light, rather than, as she was, the saviour of Britain. It actually made me angry, which is not something that usually happens to me about such ephemera. Gillian Anderson does a brilliant job of capturing her voice and mannerisms, but totally fails to understand who she was and what she did, and so, in my opinion, the character rings hollow. It reminds me a lot of Shakespeare’s portrayal of Richard III. Nice propaganda for his Tudor paymasters.

    I have not seen Meryl Streep’s portrayal in “The Iron Lady” but I thought Patricia Hodge in “The Falklands Play” absolutely captured the reality of what Thatcher was like.

  • bobby b

    Hopefully, we in the US don’t take on superior feelings about how we follow that rule of law in our Congressional expulsions.

    The United States Constitution (Article I, Section 5, Clause 2) provides that “Each House [of Congress] may determine the Rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expulsion_from_the_United_States_Congress .

    We do it, too, without convictions of crimes sometimes.

    (But more commonly, once the investigatory stage begins, the pol resigns. Perhaps Ahmed will take a hint and fall on his sword.)

  • bobby b

    ” . . . or break up into fiefdoms who would and perhaps should as soon Nuke their neighboring states or large Democrat-run cities rather than trust them again?”

    How about we just don’t trust them much again, and leave it at that?

  • There is a distant, and very far from exact, historical analogy. Burke, early in his career, defended the distasteful John Wilkes when the powers that be proposed to expel him from Parliament. At the end of his life, Burke said that was the thing of all he’d done that he most regretted – by which he did not mean that he actually regretted being alarmed at the possibility of the House of Commons starting to choose its own members.

    It was complicated.

    Wilkes was targeted because he’d dumped his grossness on the powerful. Ahmed victimises the weak – and the victimised (he angrily demanded Salman Rushdie be stripped of his “appalling” knighthood because he had “offended Islam” and “had blood on his hands” – which kind of leaves Ahmed ill-placed to fuss about being stripped of a title himself.)

    The Lords power of expulsion is only five years old. If the house were to get a real taste for it – well I’m unsurprised that some commenters are thinking about that (or that others are thinking about how very distasteful Nazir Ahmed is). Executing a lord, in the knowledge that their heir would be voting in his place presently, had a certain limitation this does not.

    There again, how exactly does one clear out the freedom-hating detritus that Blair’s corruption put there? If we expelled the superannuated commons refuse entirely and dragooned enough of the hereditaries back into the chamber to make a quorum, would the average quality of discussion and decision not improve? A few hundred descendants of people who were once first in the state have something in common with those first 2000 members of the telephone directory whom William Buckley said he’d rather be ruled by than 2000 Harvard faculty.

    Meanwhile, this shows two PC-protected categories in conflict. Will the beeb handle it with the vigour they showed towards e.g. Leon Britton, Baron of Spennithorne and others during Operation Midland? Had the police put in the effort here that they devoted to insane accusations back then, might Lord Ahmed already be facing a ‘guilty beyond reasonable doubt’ case rather than an ‘ignoble beyond reasonable doubt’ one? Of course, apparent slackness of the authorities does rather remind one of the echoes that Lord Rotherham has – and that such slackness can coexist with overzealousness against those who lack intersectional points.

    It’s complicated. My opinion of Lord Rotherham, on the other hand, is not.

  • Fraser Orr

    BTW, one other thing about Thatcher on “The Crown”. Gillian Anderson constantly portrays her as stooped over, head bowed (which again is probably why I thought of Richard III). I don’t remember Thatcher being like that at all. She always stood up straight, in fact she was the sort of person you’d expect to yell at your for slouching. In is interesting that to me this little detail in Anderson’s performance conveys a sinister quality, and I wonder why she did it, because I don’t see anything in her source material to support it.

  • bobby b

    Fraser Orr, did you ever listen to the NPR interview with Anderson about her playing the Thatcher role? IIRC, she went into a lot of detail about playing the body type and mannerisms of MT. I also remember thinking as I listened that she wasn’t all that impressed with Thatcher – MT wasn’t genuinely and sufficiently feminist enough for Anderson’s taste. (Something about “sure she was a great role model showing that females could achieve, but only ONE female cabinet member during her entire period?”) I remember thinking that she didn’t like Thatcher much.

  • Fraser Orr

    @bobby b
    I also remember thinking as I listened that she wasn’t all that impressed with Thatcher

    I’m sure she did not. Thatcher is a lot like Trump — half the country adored her and half the country detested her. There was no middle ground. And just like Trump she was surrounded by the Conservative party’s equivalent of Never Trumpers, called “the wets”. So for that reason any American liberal (and I’m going out on a limb and assuming Ms. Anderson is a liberal, forgive me if I am wrong) would absolutely hate her as much as Trump, though hatred does dilute with time.[*]

    I did not hear the interview but I did hear an interview with the gal that plays Diana who said Anderson was very committed to getting the voice and mannerisms right. But the more I think about it, it is that slouching in a Richard III kind of a way that bothers me. Anderson always walked with her head slouched forward the whole time, but Thatcher never did that. Here is a clip of her, she always stood up straight.

    [*] Having said that, when she died a full 23 years after she left office, still there was dancing in the streets and singing of “Ding dong the witch is dead”. Little did those fools know how she saved the very country that allowed them such disgraceful behavior.

  • bobby b

    I keep a small set – 7-8? – of videos I’ve found on the net as sort of keepsakes, that I like to go back and play periodically. Her “they’d rather have the poor poorer . . . ” HoC talk always stays near the top.

  • John

    Hmm

    My comment on Netflix and their contract with the 44th President and First Lady has been rejected.

  • John

    That’s better, maybe it didn’t like me using my full name.

    Anyway I was merely saying why should anyone be surprised that this particular corporation chose to denigrate the character of Reagan’s greatest ally.

  • bobby b

    John
    November 19, 2020 at 7:55 am

    “My comment on Netflix and their contract with the 44th President and First Lady has been rejected.”

    The IS a WordPress site, right?

  • John

    Indeed Bobby.

    “We believe in democratizing publishing and the freedoms that come with open source”.

    Those people.

  • John Lewis

    Why is anyone surprised that the corporation which gave the Obama’s around $50m simply for being who they are chose to denigrate the character of Reagan’s greatest ally.

    It’s a miracle Harry and Megs weren’t employed by Netflix as consultants but to paraphrase Whistler (and Monty Python) they will be.

  • Paul Marks

    Quite so Niall – the French nobility, like the Prussian nobility (and others) gave up political power in return for fiscal and other privileges.

    Not so the English nobility – which remained (to the horror of Thomas Hobbes, Jeremy Bentham and others) “Feudal” in its outlook, unhappy with the idea of Despotism (“Enlightened” or otherwise).

    Indeed the “Philosophical Radicals” (the Westminster Review crowd – who were the successors of the Bowood Circle of the late 18th century of the early 19th century were really Absolutists who masked their desire for power with a lot of talk about “freedom” and “liberty” – they wanted to take power away from the landowners and give it NOT to “the people” (as they pretended), but to THEMSELVES. The “educated” – who would rule via the education system and the bureaucracy.

    Alas not my theory – but thought out by Maurice Cowling before I was born.

    Had this not been true they, the Westminster Review crowd, would have denounced such philosophers as Thomas Hobbes, David Hume and Jeremy Bentham (the great ENEMIES of the Whig tradition) – but they actually idealised these men.

    They did not pay to put a copy of the works of Ralph Cudworth in every library in Britain – they paid to put a copy of the works of Thomas Hobbes in every library in Britain.

    J.S. Mill (yes the patron Saint of modern liberalism) did not speak of the “light of Thomas Reid” in relation to the human mind – he spoke of the “light of Hume”, David Hume who denied that the “I” really existed, and held that a thought did NOT mean a thinker. There is no support for the human soul, in the Aristotelian sense, to be found in Hume – quite the contrary, the philosophy of Hume is designed to UNDERMINE the principle that humans are BEINGS, undermine belief in the human PERSON.

    You can not get to the Bill of Rights (British or American) via the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes, David Hume and Jeremy, 13 Departments of State, Bentham – indeed these philosophers denied the foundational philosophical principles upon which the Bill of Rights is based.

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