POLITICS
16/08/2018 10:53 BST

Tory Peer Says Conservative MPs Are Targeting Him For Criticising Boris Johnson

Lord Sheikh has received complaints for attending a Palestine conference.

A Conservative peer has said formal complaints made against him by Tory MPs are “politically motivated” because he criticised Boris Johnson.

Robert Halfon and Zac Goldsmith have demanded the party take action against Lord Sheikh for his presence at a Palestine conference in 2014.

The MPs said the conference was “addressed by anti-Semites and terrorists” and the peer should be sanctioned for taking part.

Jeremy Corbyn has been heavily criticised for attending the same event in Tunis.

Lord Sheikh dismissed the complaints against him as “totally trivial” and said he had “done nothing wrong”.

“I think the complaints against me are politically motivated,” he told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme.

“I think these people who are trying to complain about me are perhaps doing this because I have talked about what Boris Johnson has said being wrong.”

Lord Sheikh, the founder of the Conservative Muslim Forum, sharply criticised the former foreign secretary for comparing women who wear burkas to “letter boxes”.

In their letter of complaint, Halfon and Goldsmith said: “We cannot, as a party, rightly and robustly criticise the Leader of the Opposition for his attendance at this conference while allowing the attendance of a Conservative peer at the same event to pass without comment or complaint.

“To do so would be to indulge in hypocrisy and double standards.”

Lord Sheikh said today: “I am not anti-Semitic. I believe in friendship and good relationship between all the communities.”

The peer added he was a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) against anti-Semitism.

“I have very good Jewish friends in parliament and outside parliament. I am totally against anti-Semitism. I believe in peace and harmony.”

Lord Sheikh also said he was “very surprised” Goldsmith would make a complaint.

“When Zac Goldsmith was standing for mayor in the election, he made some unsavoury remarks about Sadiq Khan,” he said.

“That campaign backfired and I feel that Zac Goldsmith should have learned following his failure to be elected as Mayor of London.”