British lawmaker quits party ahead of hearing on anti-Semitic speech

(JTA) — A British lawmaker accused of blaming a Jewish conspiracy for his conviction in connection with a fatal car crash has resigned from the Labor Party ahead of a disciplinary hearing.

“I don’t want to appear before any kangaroo court where the rules of justice have been denied,” Nazir Ahmed of the House of Lords wrote in his resignation letter, The Daily Telegraph reported on Monday. “All I want is any evidence in front of me so I can look at it and defend myself. I can’t defend myself if there is no evidence produced.”

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Ahmed has denied claims that he said that his legal problems following the 2007 crash resulted from pressure placed on the courts by Jews “who own newspapers and TV channels.” The Times of London reported in March that Ahmed made the statements in an interview for a Pakistani television network. Ahmed has demanded The Times present the recording for forensic tests, but The Times has refused to do so, according to Ahmed’s lawyer.

The Labor party suspended Ahmed in March pending an investigation and was due this week to hold a hearing in which Ahmed was supposed to face party executives.

Ahmed previously said he could not remember making the remarks, but apologized unreservedly and said he would be “utterly devastated” if it was proved that he had spoken in such terms.

In March 2009, a court of appeals freed Ahmed from a 12-week prison sentence handed down by Justice Alan Wilkie following Ahmed’s conviction for dangerous driving in 2007. Ahmed was involved in an accident which claimed the life of 28-year-old Martyn Gombar. Gombar, who reportedly was drunk, collided with Ahmed’s car, The Times reported. Ahmed pleaded guilty to dangerous driving at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court in December 2008.

According to the Times, Ahmed alleged that Wilkie was appointed to the High Court after helping a “Jewish colleague” of Tony Blair and that the plot stemmed from Jewish disapproval of his support for the Palestinians in Gaza.