NRI appointment to House of Lords kicks up row
Posted on: 11:34 PM IST Jan 02, 2008
London: The appointment of a leading NRI doctor to the House of Lords has kicked up a row in London with a probe sought into the alleged donations made to the Liberal Democratic Party by Alpha Healthcare, which is linked to him.
Demanding an investigation into the appointment of Lord Khaleed Hameed and the alleged substantial donations made to the Liberal Democratic Party by Alpha Healthcare, The Times daily said the Lords' vetting panel was unaware of links between the NRI and the 'Lib Dems' new top business donors.
"The Cabinet Secretary, the Committee on Standards in Public Life and the Appointments Commission are being urged to look into relationships," the newspaper said.
Lucknow-born Lord Hameed was proposed for the peerage by the Liberal Democratic Party treasurer and lauded by the only Liberal Democrat member of the Lords Appointments Commission but sits as an independent. All involved deny any connection between the peerage and the payments.
According to the report, Alpha Healthcare has handed over nearly 400,000 pounds, the largest single tranche of 125,000 pounds being accepted after the seat in the Lord's was confirmed, the report said.
Lord Hameed insists that he has never given a penny to a politician and knew nothing of the payments.
The former High Sheriff of Greater London, Lord Hameed, is a prominent Muslim promoter of interfaith dialogue and a winner of the Sternberg Interfaith Award.
His progress to the Lords began in 2005 when he was nominated by the former British airways chief Lord Marshall, a crossbencher. The nomination was formally supported by Lord Clement-Jones, two non-Liberal Democrat peers and two dignitaries.
The Appointments Commission said that all procedures had been followed properly. Alpha Healthcare said that the gifts came from its profits and it was 'complete and utter nonsense' to link the payments to the peerage.