Lord Ahmed 'claims Jewish friends pressured courts'

Lord Ahmed was sentenced in 2009 after pleading guilty to dangerous driving, having sent and received text messages in the build up to a fatal crash on the M1 near Sheffield on Christmas Day in 2007.

The final message was sent two minutes before his Jaguar struck the stationary car of 28-year-old Slovakian Martyn Gombar.

No causal link was made between the text messages and Mr Gombar's death, though.

The Times said it gained four separate Urdu-English translations to verify Lord Ahmed's comments during a television interview, which it said were thought to have been made in April last year during his visit to Pakistan. The newspaper claims the peer is seen saying:

I was charged with a traffic offence, for texting while driving. A traffic offence, dangerous driving, and it should have gone to the magistrates court.

My case became more critical because I went to Gaza to support Palestinians. My Jewish friends who own newspapers and TV channels opposed this.

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Labour peer suspended

Labour peer Lord Ahmed has been suspended by the party amid an investigation into claims that he blamed his jailing for dangerous driving on a Jewish conspiracy.