Monday, 18 June 2012


Baroness Warsi, her extremist business partner and the lunch with the Prime Minister

Baroness Warsi, the Conservative chairman, was facing questions last night over whether she breached the ministerial code by promoting her private business at a party function.

ACCESS: Baroness Warsi's business partner Abid Hussain met the Prime Minister

By Jason Lewis, Investigations Editor
9:00PM BST 16 Jun 2012

She personally paid for potential customers, one of whom was in negotiations over a deal with her firm, to attend a Conservative Party lunch with the Prime Minister last month.

The Sunday Telegraph has also learnt that her business partner, Abid Hussain, a former activist with a radical Islamic group who has a conviction for violence, secured an invitation to meet David Cameron at Downing Street, raising questions over the Prime Minister’s security.

The disclosures put Lady Warsi under fresh scrutiny.

Mr Cameron has already asked Sir Alex Allan, the independent adviser on ministerial conduct, to investigate after The Sunday Telegraph disclosed that she had not declared a majority stake in Rupert’s Recipes, a restaurant supply firm whose other shareholder is Mr Hussain.

However the disclosure that she apparently used a political function to promote her business appears to breach clause one of the Ministerial Code, which states: “Ministers must ensure that no conflict arises, or appears to arise, between their public duties and their private interests.”

Last night Labour said it would table further questions on Lady Warsi’s conduct. Michael Dugher, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, said: “These latest allegations take the scandal to David Cameron’s doorstep and to the heart of Downing Street.

“The Conservative Party chairman seems to have been giving her private business associate – a man who has admitted being involved in an extremist Islamist group – access to the corridors of power.”

The latest revelations concern the launch of the Conservative Friends of Pakistan, in the Savoy Hotel, central London, last month. The guests of honour were Mr Cameron and Yousuf Raza Gilani, the Pakistani prime minister.

Lady Warsi paid a total of £5,000 for two tables at the event. Guests on one table included her parents, sisters, and others involved in the family’s Dewsbury-based bed manufacturing business.

She “hosted” another table, made up of clients and staff from “Rupert’s Recipes”, although she sat on the VIP table.

The guests’ names were supplied to the Conservative Party by Lady Warsi’s husband, Iftikhar Azam, from his Rupert’s Recipes email address. Rupert’s Recipes describes itself as a “one stop shop for bespoke ingredients” for breaded chicken, fish batter, meat marinades and kebab seasoning.

As well as Mr Azam, the table included Mr Hussain, Mohammed Johngir Saddiq, and Fareed Nasir. Mr Nasir is the founder of Chunky Chicken, a chain of 19 fast food restaurants, mainly in the Midlands and North West. He said he was invited to the event by Mr Azam as they were “working closely” about a possible deal.

“We are trying to do some work with Rupert’s Recipes, we are not using their spices at the moment but we have had some samples,” he said. He added that he is not a member of the Conservative Party and has not donated money. Mr Saddiq runs Big John’s, a chain of 15 takeaway shops in and around Birmingham, worth £19.5 million. His business claims to have been the country’s first “drive thru” fish and chip shop and offers “the nation’s biggest pizza”. He declined to comment on the function.

Other guests included a halal meat supplier, and men believed to be Pakistani restaurateurs.

Lady Warsi personally vouched for the table’s guests, meaning they were exempt from checks carried out by the party’s internal compliance team, which verifies that guests can legitimately make donations to the party.

Labour wants the latest disclosure added to the investigation that is already under way into why Lady Warsi did not disclose that in February this year she owned a 60 per cent stake in Rupert’s Recipes. Peers have to disclose if they are majority shareholders in a company.

The Conservative chairman said that she became a majority shareholder when shares were transferred to her, but “immediately” transferred a proportion to her husband, and therefore did not have to register the holding with the Lords. However, party officials have consistently refused to provide exact details of the share transfer.

There are also questions over Mr Hussain, who met Mr Cameron at a Downing Street reception in November 2010 at which Lady Warsi was also present.

He has been closely involved with the Islamist group Hizb ut Tahrir, which Mr Cameron pledged to ban while in opposition. Mr Hussain, 42, was first involved with the extremists in the early 1990s, and backed them at meetings after the July 7 bombings in 2005. He also has a conviction for an assault, committed when he was 17. His lawyers confirmed that he was convicted of actual bodily harm in 1988 or 1989 and sentenced to three months in a young offenders institution.

They said that the conviction is now “spent” and its disclosure has “no legitimate …public interest”.

However, it would have been relevant to his presence in Downing Street as it raises serious security questions about whether he was fully vetted.

It is unclear whether Lady Warsi, who has said that she knows nothing of Mr Hussain’s involvement with Islamic extremists, played any role in getting him on the guest list.

The latest disclosures come after Lady Warsi admitted she failed to declare rental income on a flat she owns, and is being investigated in the Lords over expenses claims for overnight stays in London. She stayed as a guest of a party donor who says he did not charge her rent. She claims she gave the money to an aide, also living at the address, who had invited her to stay.

Questioned on the Number 10 reception, a Downing Street spokesman said: “All guests invited to Downing Street receptions must go through security checks and are properly searched on entry to ensure they pose no security threat and all electronic equipment, including mobile phones, is taken off them for the duration of their stay.”

He failed to answer questions about whether security would be reviewed in the light of Mr Hussain’s invitation to the event.

A Conservative Party spokesman said of the Savoy reception: “This was a party event organised by the Conservative Friends of Pakistan to reach out to potential supporters within the British Pakistani community.

“All those who bought tables were fully compliance-checked to ensure they were permissible donors, and everyone who attended was subject to the normal security arrangements.

“No gift or hospitality was received by Baroness Warsi and no issue arises in relation to the ministerial code.”

He added: “This was a party-political event for members of the British Pakistani community. To suggest that there was any impropriety in their being invited is simply mischief-making.”


Baroness Warsi and the 'extremist' who went to Downing Street

A man who had once been a prominent activist in Hizb ut Tahrir, a group which wants Britain to be run under stritct Islamic law, shook hands with David Cameron in the drawing room of 10 Downing Street.

Abid Hussain meets David Cameron at No 10

By Jason Lewis, Investigations Editor
7:00AM BST 17 Jun 2012

It was a moment that, for Abid Hussain, must live long in the memory.

He was standing in the drawing room of No10 shaking the hand of the Prime Minister.

It was an extraordinary turn of events for a man who had once been a prominent activist in Hizb ut Tahrir, a group which wants to overthrow Britain’s democracy and replace it with a state run under strict Islamic law.

He was introduced to David Cameron at an event to celebrate the festival of Eid which had been organised by Downing Street with the help of Baroness Warsi, the Conservative Party co-chairman, and her office.

Whether it was the Cabinet minister who put his name on the guest list for the event in November 2010 is unclear, but what was not known at the time was that Mr Hussain was actually Lady Warsi’s business partner: they are the joint owners of a company.

Mr Hussain, a second cousin of Lady Warsi’s husband, had also recently returned from Pakistan where he “assisted” her and the British high commissioner on a ministerial visit.

There are now questions about whether Downing Street knew two other facts about the man given access to the Prime Minister and the heart of government: firstly, that he was involved in an extremist group that Mr Cameron had pledged to ban, and secondly that he has a conviction for a violent assault during his younger days in Sheffield.

Whatever the answers to those questions, Mr Hussain attended another reception with Mr Cameron last month, when Lady Warsi invited him to the launch of the Conservative Friends of Pakistan, a party interest group designed to foster better understanding with the Asian nation and the huge Pakistani community in Britain.

He was also present at a lunch organised by Baroness Warsi, who sat at the top table with the Prime Minister 

Lady Warsi paid for Mr Hussain and her husband, Iftikhar Azam, to bring a group of business contacts of their firm, Rupert’s Recipes, to the fund-raising lunch at the Savoy Hotel in the Strand.

The launch was planned by Lady Warsi with the help of her special adviser Naweed Khan and her personal assistant Gulsum Aytac, who between them had written the Friends of Pakistan group’s mission statement and strategy and drawn up its structure.

The final guest list was a who’s who of wealthy and successful British Pakistanis.

Entrepreneurs, bankers, property developers and diplomats all paid between £2,000 to £5,000 for a table alongside Mr Cameron and Yousuf Raza Gilani, the Pakistani prime minister.

On table 15 were eight guests of Rupert’s Recipes, the Sheffield spice supply business which, company documents published in February show, was 60 per cent owned by Lady Warsi.

Mr Azam sent the names of the guests to Conservative Central Office using his Rupert’s Recipes email account. Lady Warsi sat on the VIP table with Mr Cameron and Mr Gilani.

On the Rupert’s Recipes table was Mr Hussain and Mohammed Johngir Saddiq — “Big John”, the millionaire boss of a chain of Birmingham fish and chip shops bearing his nickname.

The photographers captured a smiling and laughing Mr Saddiq with his arm around Mr Hussain.

Other guests included Fareed Nasir, the owner of Chunky Chicken, a fast food franchise with outlets across the North West, the Midlands, Cardiff and Newcastle upon Tyne, several other Asian restaurateurs and the owner of a leading halal meat wholesaler.

Whether business was discussed as Lady Warsi’s guests enjoyed a three-course lunch, with a vegetarian starter, breaded chicken main course and a kheer rice pudding with ice cream, is not known.

But several of those invited to accept the minister’s hospitality were certainly in a position buy the spices and fried chicken and fish mixes in which Rupert’s Recipes specialises — and Mr Nasir says he was in negotiation to do precisely that.

For Lady Warsi the day was a triumph. She looked relaxed and happy as she stood alongside her husband, and with her mother and father and sisters, who were also invited and sat on a second table paid for by the minister.

She told the gathering that it was “obvious that a modern progressive Conservative Party should reach out to say that our relationship with British Pakistanis should be broader and deeper, that our relationship with Pakistan should be broader and deeper, and that the Conservative Party should become the natural home of many many enterprising Pakistanis”.

In response, Mr Cameron described Lady Warsi as an “extraordinary political talent”, thanking guests for coming to an event at which, he said, “the majority of the Cabinet” were present.

He added: “I am proud that I am the first British prime minister to have a Muslim woman in my Cabinet.”

But by mixing business with politics, by failing to declare her business activities, and by allying herself with a business partner with a dubious past, Lady Warsi may have put that place in history in doubt.

Monday, 11 June 2012


Baroness Warsi and the 'extremist'

Baroness Warsi, the Conservative Party chairman, faces fresh questions over her business partner.

ACTIVIST: Baroness Warsi's business partner Abid Hussain at a Hizb ut Tahrir rally in 1995

By Jason Lewis, Investigations Editor9:00PM BST 09 Jun 2012

The peer is under investigation over her undeclared links to Abid Hussain, a relative by marriage with whom she is involved in a catering business.

However, there were calls last week for the inquiry, ordered by David Cameron, the Prime Minister, to be widened after Mr Hussain admitted that he had been involved in Hizb ut-Tahrir, a radical Islamist party that the Conservatives had pledged to ban.

In his first public statement, Mr Hussain said that he had attended its meetings, although he said he had never been a “member”, and had not told Lady Warsi about his involvement.

She has previously said she was unaware of his activities.

There were also questions over one of the trips to Pakistan by Lady Warsi on which she was accompanied by Mr Hussain.

The current investigation into Lady Warsi is being carried out by Sir Alex Allan, the Prime Minister’s adviser on the ministerial code, into the disclosure that company documents showed she was the majority shareholder in Rupert’s Recipes, a spice company whose other shareholder was Mr Hussain

In February last year, she travelled to the country on government business and in the course of the trip opened the “Office for Overseas Pakistanis and British Nationals”, which she said “works with police forces across the UK and British consular services on issues such as forced marriage and kidnapping”.

However, The Sunday Telegraph has established that the office is operated from the premises of an opposition party, whose British arm organised a protest against US policy when President Barack Obama visited Britain.

Last night, Michael Dugher, Labour’s shadow cabinet office minister, said Lady Warsi appeared to be mixing party and government business.

The current investigation into Lady Warsi is being carried out by Sir Alex Allan, the Prime Minister’s adviser on the ministerial code, into the disclosure that company documents showed she was the majority shareholder in Rupert’s Recipes, a spice company whose other shareholder was Mr Hussain.

She had not registered the holding with the House of Lords, whose rules say peers should declare any majority shareholdings.

“These further revelations about the conduct of Baroness Warsi are extremely worrying,” Mr Dugher said.

“Yet again, there seems to be a blurring of the lines between what constitutes proper official business and what is, in fact, party political activity with private associates.

"Labour will be asking urgent questions next week in Parliament, including of the Foreign Office.

"What the baroness was doing with someone who has admitted his involvement with the extremist Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir also calls into question her judgment.”

Hizb ut-Tahrir has been accused of promoting racism and anti-Semitism, praising suicide bombers and urging Muslims to kill Jews.

Before coming to power, Mr Cameron pledged to ban it but the plan was shelved after a Coalition review.

The nature of Mr Hussain’s involvement in the radical party has already prompted questions over the extent of security vetting.

He has twice accompanied Lady Warsi on trips to Pakistan, and has also been pictured in the House of Lords at a reception for her.

In the early 1990s, sources say, Mr Hussain joined Hizb ut-Tahrir and was nicknamed “Strapper” by other students because of his bulky frame.

He lived for a time in one of its London houses, studying the radical form of Islam taught by its then leader Omar Bakri Mohammed, who is now banned from Britain.

In 1995, Mr Hussain attended a party rally filmed in a BBC a documentary and was seen laughing and joking with others.

Mr Hussain issued a statement through a lawyer last night which said he “has never been a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir”.

“In his mid-20s, which is to say more than 20 years ago, Mr Hussain attended Hizb ut-Tahrir meetings,” the statement said. “However, he often debated against their views and never became a member.”

A former Hizb ut-Tahrir activist, Ghaffar Hussain, who now works for the Quilliam Foundation, the anti-radicalisation organisation, said: “He [Mr Hussain ]acted as a key recruiter and propagandist for the groups in the late 90s.

“Hizb ut-Tahrir have a very idiosyncratic definition of the term 'member’. Only the very senior and public activists call themselves 'member’.

“This gives the junior activists and those who don’t want to be public about their involvement plausible deniability by claiming that they are not officially 'members’.”

Mr Hussain’s brother is still a high-profile figure in Hizb ut-Tahrir, and is referred to as “Professor” Muhammad Nawaz Khan in videos and photographs on its website.

Mr Hussain said last night he had not spoken to his brother in a decade.

Mr Hussain’s presence on Lady Warsi’s trip in February last year to Lahore was disclosed by the Conservative chairman last week. He was present when she opened the “Office for Overseas Pakistanis and British Nationals”.

The Foreign Office described the organisation last week as a “private initiative” and as a “charity” that “helps British nationals overseas”.

However, The Sunday Telegraph has established that the organisation is run by a political party, the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), headed by a former Pakistan prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, and his brother, Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, the chief minister of the Punjab.

It is unclear whether Baroness Warsi knew the organisation appears to be political, rather than charitable. During the Lahore event, attended by Mr Sharif, Mr Hussain and Baroness Warsi were pictured with Anjum Chaudhary, the president of PML-N’s UK Youth Wing.

Mr Chaudhary organised a protest outside Parliament in May last year against President Obama’s state visit.

In the UK, the office, based in the party’s headquarters, in Romford, east London, is headed by the PML-N’s UK president, Zubair Gull, and shares several members of staff.

Abid Hussain appears to be involved in the organisation, appearing in a number of photographs on its website.

A Conservative Party spokesman said: “Sir Alex Allan is looking at Baroness Warsi’s business relationships and will provide advice on how they should be handled in future.

“All relevant information regarding Baroness Warsi’s business interests will be available to Sir Alex.”

Tuesday, 5 June 2012


Tory peer Baroness Warsi and her secret business

Baroness Warsi, the Conservative Party chairman, faces damaging new questions over her business dealings.

Lady Warsi has been on 17 foreign trips while in office, even though her role as party chairman is to foster relations with grassroots members

By Jason Lewis, Investigations Editor9:00PM BST 02 Jun 2012

A Sunday Telegraph investigation has uncovered that she has never registered a controlling stake in a spice manufacturing firm with the House of Lords authorities.

The disclosure appears to be in breach of rules that order peers to declare their business interests, particularly if they are the principal shareholders in a company.

It follows Lady Warsi’s admission last week that she failed to declare rental income from a property she owned.

The peer claimed the issue of the rent was “an oversight”. However, her stake in a company, Rupert’s Recipes, the existence of which has never been declared, raises significant questions over her judgment. Labour said she had urgent questions to answer.

KEY DOCUMENT: Warsi's 60 per cent shareholding.

The Sunday Telegraph investigation also found that:

* Lady Warsi’s business partner, Abid Hussain, accompanied her on a ministerial trip to Pakistan where he met leading politicians;

* Mr Hussain has been a leading member of Hizb ut Tahrir, the radical Islamic group the Tories promised to ban while in opposition;

* It is unclear if Mr Hussain was subjected to security vetting before accompanying the peer to Pakistan;

* Lady Warsi has been on 17 foreign trips while in office, even though her role as party chairman is to foster relations with grassroots members.

The peer referred herself to the Lords Commissioner for Standards after it emerged that she claimed an allowance for accommodation while staying at the home of a party donor who said he did not charge rent. She said she made an “appropriate payment” to Naweed Khan for the nights she stayed at the property in Acton, west London.

Lady Warsi’s business dealings, disclosed in company documents, prompted calls last night for a full investigation into whether she has broken parliamentary rules.

Accounts for Rupert’s Recipes from February say she owns 60 per cent of the shares in the firm. Initially she owned a third of the shares, with Mr Hussain and another unnamed businessman both also holding a third. However, in the February accounts Lady Warsi had increased her holding to 60 per cent and Mr Hussain had 40 per cent. According to the Lords code of conduct, members must register share holdings in firms in which they hold a controlling interest or if they are valued at more than £50,000.

The peer was listed as a director of the company under the name of Sayeeda Hussain-Warsi from its establishment in February 2009 until July 6 2010, two months after she entered the Cabinet.

It is unclear whether Lady Warsi was paid. The code requires “unremunerated directorships” to be registered, as “certain non-financial interests may reasonably be thought to affect the way members of the House of Lords discharge their public duties”.

Yesterday Lady Warsi issued a statement saying: “My shareholdings and, before becoming a minister, directorships, have at all material times been disclosed as required on the Register of Lords’ Interests and to the Cabinet Office and on the register of ministerial interests.”

A party source said the shares were transferred into her name briefly in February before being moved in turn to her husband, Iftikhar Azam. The source said the next set of accounts would reflect this.

However, critics said she still faced questions. The Lords rules do not exempt shares held only briefly from registration. They also say that those held “on behalf of a spouse” must be registered.

The source also said unpaid directorships had only needed to be registered since the rules were changed last year.

Lady Warsi has registered shareholdings in her father’s company and her husband’s.

The background of Mr Hussain in Rupert’s Recipes is also likely to prove controversial. The Sunday Telegraph has uncovered details of his past involvement with the radical Islamic group Hizb ut Tahrir.

He was a prominent member of the group set up in Britain by Omar Bakri Muhammad, the radical preacher. It is unclear when he left the organisation. Lady Warsi said: “I am not aware of any involvement between Abid Hussain and Hizb ut Tahrir, and no such relationship has ever been suggested previously.”

Mr Hussain and Lady Warsi were on close terms by the summer of 2009, when she married Mr Azam, her second husband. Mr Hussain was in the front row of one wedding picture. He has also accompanied her on two trips to Pakistan. The first was while she was in opposition, but on the second, in July 2010, he attended at least two Foreign Office events.

A spokesman for the British High Commission said the Government did not pay for his visit: “Mr Hussain was not part of the official delegation.” Lady Warsi said: “Neither I nor the Conservative Party nor the Government has ever met the costs of foreign visits by Abid Hussain.”

Labour said ministers should state whether Mr Hussain was security cleared. They also said his presence on the trips had parallels to the case of Liam Fox, who quit as defence secretary after he was joined abroad by an unofficial adviser, Adam Werritty.

Michael Dugher, the shadow Cabinet Office minister, said: “This looks like the Liam Fox-Adam Werritty case all over again. David Cameron needs to show he is prepared to make sure his ministers show the highest standards of behaviour.”

Details also emerged of the extent of Lady Warsi’s travels. She has undertaken 17 trips since July 2010. Eight were paid for by the Government, two by Saudi Arabia and one by an Azerbaijani expatriate group. Six have taken place since January but funding details have yet to be published.


Baroness Warsi: Radical past of man at the minister’s side

Mirpur in July: the heat is stifling before the monsoon rains, and normally the wealthy and well-connected would not venture far from their air-conditioned villas.

Baroness Warsi with business partner Abid Hussain

By Jason Lewis, Investigations Editor7:50AM GMT 03 Jun 0212

But there is every reason for Mirpur’s elite to brave the outdoors today, as the biggest political draw of the year has come to the Hilton.

Baroness Warsi is a heroine, a “daughter of Pakistan” whose father left the country with £2, and who has reached the pinnacle of the British establishment.

As she takes to the platform Lady Warsi is backed up by an entourage of diplomats, civil servants, security from the Pakistani government and British High Commission, and one man who is none of these: Abid Hussain.

Tall, burly, crop-haired and bearded, he is described on the official programme — and now on the Foreign Office website’s record of the event — as a “barrister”.

In fact, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose, he is Lady Warsi’s business partner, co-director in an enterprise never declared to the House of Lords authorities, and a one-time leading radical Islamist.

At the event in the capital of Pakistani Kashmir in July 2010, Mr Hussain, 42, shared the platform with Adam Thomson, Britain’s high commissioner to Pakistan and a senior local politician. Local reports said “speakers paid glorious tributes” to Lady Warsi for “her long meritorious services”. One newspaper described Mr Hussain as “a prominent UK-based Kashmiri expatriate leader”, and another said that he “presided over the ceremony”.

It was not Mr Hussain’s first trip with Lady Warsi. When she was shadow community cohesion minister, he accompanied her to meet the Pakistani prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gillani, in private talks in August 2008 at the national assembly in Islamabad.

On this occasion the Pakistani national news agency described Mr Hussain as a “former adviser to the office of the Deputy Prime Minister of [the] UK”.

Baroness Warsi with her business parter Abid Hussain (far right) on Ministerial visit

Whether Mr Hussain has ever worked in Whitehall is unclear. Despite being described regularly as a barrister he is not registered with the Bar Council and his day job is as the £60,000-a-year “third sector and external funding manager” at Tower Hamlets council, overseeing grants to community groups.

It is his business interests that put him in the spotlight. All are connected to his ethnic and religious roots. He is the director of Abikram Limited, which he runs with a Labour councillor, and until recently he ran a news agency called Islamabad Times and another firm called New Perspective Consultancy Limited, which he closed in December 2010.

He was also one of the men behind Qibla Cola, a drink launched in 2003 which was intended to take on Coke and Pepsi while funnelling some of its profits to Islamic causes. The firm was put into administration in September 2005.

However, the most significant venture is Rupert’s Recipes, which supplies Asian spices to caterers and restaurants. Its accounts published in February said it was then 60 per cent owned by Lady Warsi and 40 per cent by Mr Hussain. The accounts also show that it has almost £20,000 in the bank and owes its creditors almost £28,000, but disclose nothing about turnover or pre-tax profits.

Its website, registered in the name of Lady Warsi’s second husband, Iftikhar Azam, at the couple’s former home in Dewsbury, West Yorks, features fried Asian chicken, fish and vegetable dishes spiced with the firm’s products and a step-by-step guide to preparing them. Lady Warsi was a director from February 2009 until July 6, 2010, and Mr Azam was a director from July 2010 until January this year.

How and when Lady Warsi became involved with Mr Hussain is unclear. He was born in Sheffield and studied law at Sheffield Hallam University. In the mid-1990s he became involved with the radical Islamic group Hizb ut Tahrir. When or whether he has left is unknown and he could not be reached for comment.

Mr Hussain became a leading figure in the group, alongside his brother Muhammad Nawaz Khan, who was once its spokesman in Pakistan, where it has been declared illegal.

David Cameron has tried more than once to get the group banned. As Opposition leader he called on Gordon Brown to proscribe it as a terrorist organisation. The pledge was in the Conservative manifesto but a government review came down against a ban.

One former leading member said last night that Mr Hussain “is a strong Islamist still, though [he] left Hizb ut Tahrir after being with it for several years”.

Last year another former member, Shiraz Maher, now a senior research fellow at King’s College London, wrote: “Abid Hussain and [other named individuals] were all on the national executive when I became the first senior member to resign in 2005.”

In September 2005, three months after the July 7 bombings, Mr Hussain gave speeches with Hizb ut Tahrir leaders in Luton, Burton upon Trent, Staffs, and Walthamstow, east London, opposing Labour’s plan to introduce tough anti-terrorism laws. In Burton, Mr Hussain, billed as “a barrister from London”, said the government saw Muslims as “guilty by association”. The following year he again spoke out. He said: “Killing is not the issue. Muslims do not advocate this. But anyone who wants to see troops withdrawn from Muslim land is regarded as a terrorist.” Mr Hussain is also a backer of Lord Ahmed, the Labour peer who was suspended in April after reportedly offering a bounty on Barack Obama.

* Additional reporting by Rob Crilly in Islamabad