Lord Ahmed accused of using his position to pursue sex with vulnerable women
A peer has been accused of exploiting his role in order to pursue sex with vulnerable women who approached him for help.
Lord Ahmed of Rotherham is alleged to have become engaged in a sexual relationship with Tahira Zaman when she was in a vulnerable state.
She told the BBC's Newsnight programme that she felt exploited by the peer because she was suffering from anxiety and depression at the time.
Another woman, meanwhile, claimed that the former Labour peer asked her to spend the evening with him at his London home, which she interpreted as a proposition for sex.
Lord Ahmed denies any wrongdoing and Ms Zaman’s complaint to the Lords Commissioner for Standards, Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, was dismissed.
The 43-year-old approached the peer in February 2017 through a mutual friend in a bid to get the authorities to look into a Muslim faith healer who she felt was a danger to women.
Ms Zaman said Lord Ahmed told her he had written to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick on her behalf, but then repeatedly asked her for dinner before the pair eventually went on to have a sexual relationship.
She accepts the alleged relationship was consensual but said: “I was looking for help and he took advantage of me. He abused his power.”
The relationship ended after two months when Lord Ahmed told her he would not leave his wife, she claimed.
"I genuinely did believe that he had feelings for me, I'm just so stupid… and I believed that he was going to help me," Ms Zaman said.
Her complaint to Ms Scott-Moncrieff in January 2018 claiming that she had been “preyed upon due to my vulnerability and used” was reviewed twice but could not be investigated.
In a reply, the watchdog wrote: “The behaviour you describe in your email could amount to a breach of personal honour. However, the Code only applies in relation to a peer's parliamentary work, and, from your email, it looks as if your initial contact with him was not to do with his parliamentary work.”
In a statement, Lord Ahmed told Newsnight: “I completely deny the allegation that I have exploited my position to pursue an inappropriate relationship with any member of the public (vulnerable or otherwise) or that I have acted inappropriately in the presence of women either in my personal or professional capacity.
WThe House of Lords' Commissioner for Standards, Ms Lucy Scott-Moncrieff CBE, assessed the complaint and decided that it did not engage parliamentary inappropriate behaviour about me. She decided to take no further action."
He added: "I take my duties as a parliamentarian extremely seriously and would not act so as to undermine my personal or professional reputation."