MP apol­o­gises for com­ments to preg­nant C4 jour­nal­ist

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Laura Hughes and Roland Oliphant

THE fam­ily of a lawyer de­tained in Bangladesh has al­legedly been ha­rassed by po­lice af­ter a Labour MP re­fused to raise his case with Sheikh Hasina, her aunt who has been the coun­try’s prime min­is­ter since 2009.

Tulip Sid­diq was asked by a Chan­nel 4 News reporter whether she in­tended to cam­paign for the re­lease of Ah­mad bin Quasem, a Bri­tish-trained lawyer who van­ished in Bangladesh last year.

Ms Sid­diq warned a reporter to “be very care­ful what you’re say­ing – I’m a Bri­tish MP” be­fore telling a preg­nant jour­nal­ist: “Hope you have a great birth, be­cause child labour is hard.” Fol­low­ing the bad-tem­pered ex­change, po­lice vis­ited the home of Mr Quasem’s mother in Bangladesh. The visit came be­fore Chan­nel 4 had broad­cast its re­port on Mon­day evening, Michael Po­lak, Mr Quasem’s Bri­tish lawyer, said.

Then, on Tues­day, armed po­lice raided the home of Mr Quasem’s wife and sis­ter. Ms Sid­diq’s of­fice did not re­spond to ques­tions over whether Ms Sid­diq had spo­ken to any­one in Bangladesh af­ter the ap­proach by Chan­nel 4. Mr Po­lak told The Daily Tele­graph: “I was in Bangladesh in Novem­ber. I spoke to a num­ber of diplo­mats from var­i­ous coun­tries and they told me Tulip is the key to get­ting Ah­mad re­leased.

“It’s not just her aunt. Her mother and brother are in the rul­ing party com­mit­tee. Her pa­ter­nal un­cle is a se­cu­rity ad­viser. My sole aim here is for him to be re­leased.” Yes­ter­day, Ms Sid­diq apol­o­gised for her be­hav­iour, say­ing her re­marks were “ill-judged”.

She added: “The fact that some mem­bers of my fam­ily are in­volved in pol­i­tics in Bangladesh has long been a mat­ter of pub­lic record that I have not hid­den from. That said, I have no ca­pa­bil­ity or de­sire to in­flu­ence pol­i­tics in Bangladesh.”

Tulip Sid­diq got hot un­der the col­lar when Chan­nel 4 News in­ter­viewed her about a lawyer who has gone miss­ing in Bangladesh. The MP later said it was ‘an ill-judged at­tempt to deal with what I felt was a hos­tile sit­u­a­tion’

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