Editor’s view: Has Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq misled us over her family connections?
PUBLISHED: 07:00 24 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:07 24 December 2017
Supplied by Tulip Siddiq
A recent Channel 4 news report has raised questions about Tulip Siddiq’s involvement in Bangladeshi politics, writes Ham&High editor Emily Banks
“It is not my desire to interfere in Bangladeshi politics and nor is it appropriate to do so.“ our local MP Tulip Siddiq told the Ham&High on November 30.
I was questioning her about the case of Bangladeshi barrister Ahmed Bin Quasem, a member of the English bar who was abducted in Bangladesh.
As readers will know, Tulip’s aunt is Sheikh Hasina the prime minister of Bangladesh and head of the Awami League party, who many believe to be behind the abduction of Mr Quasem and around 400 others who have ‘been disappeared’ by the regime.
The Bangladesh government deny this, but Mr Quasem’s supporters and human rights campaigners believe Tulip should use her family connection to intervene.
“I am very close to my aunt as a niece would be to her auntie,” Tulip told me. “We never talk about politics. I just share all my family news with her,” she said. She stressed that her aunt never visits her constituency or home when on official visits.
At that time, I wrote: “I believe it is not appropriate for her to intervene in her aunt’s government in Bangladesh.”
But I meant exactly that.
No involvement at all in Bangladesh politics or her family’s political regime.
As the Hampstead and Kilburn MP, she must have complete and absolute political separation from her aunt.
This includes accompanying her aunt to any political events wherever they are around the world - and absolutely not in London.
Sheikh Hasina should certainly not be using her niece to gain influence or even an introduction to British politicians.
But now a host of evidence in a recent Channel 4 news report shows that far from ‘not intefering’ in Bangladesh politics or talking politics with her aunt, our local MP has been seen on camera accompanying her aunt to political events including in Westminster.
There is a well publicised picture of Tulip alongside Sheikh Hasina meeting president Putin before she was elected as MP.
Tulip explains this as a family reunion while her aunt happened to be on a visit to Moscow.
But Channel 4 chief correspondent Alex Thomson unearthed more pictures of Tulip Siddiq:
* Standing alongside Sheikh Hasina with a group of MPs in Westminster
* Introducing Sheikh Hasina to speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow
* Attending a party with her aunt and Awami activists in London in June after the general election this year.
The report also unveils film footage that shows:
* Sheikh Hasina kissing Tulip in 2015 after she won her Kilburn and Hampstead seat.
* Footage of Tulip addressing an Awami League rally. Speaking Bengali,Tulip says: “Had it not been for your help, I would never have been able to stand here as a British MP.”
* More footage of Tulip Siddiq at an event in Westminster put on by the Awami League.
Tulip herself has raised one very concerning question in her address to her Bangladeshi supporters.
Would she indeed not have been elected the MP for Hampstead and Kilburn without the support of the Awami League?
The whole news report broadcast on December 14 raises worrying questions, presenting evidence that is in direct conflict with her assertion to me: “It is not my desire to interfere in Bangladeshi politics and nor is it appropriate to do so.“ or that she never talks politics with her aunt.
Today I feel concerned that I and our readers might have been misled by our local MP.
It raises questions as to exactly how deep her political involvement with her family really goes.
To watch the news report visit the C4 Youtube channel and the report titled “Tulip Siddiq: Questions over links with Bangladeshi ruling party.
Tulip Siddiq’s office did not respond to our request for a comment on the report.