Baroness Tonge behind Salah Lords meeting

Jenny Tonge

Jenny Tonge

Controversial pro-Palestinian peer Baroness Tonge was responsible for getting banned cleric Raed Salah into parliament earlier this week.

Staff at the House of Lords confirmed that a committee room was booked on Monday evening in the name of the Liberal Democrat peer for a meeting with Sheikh Salah, the leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel.

The Sergeant at Arms has already made inquiries about the booking for the preacher, who has been accused of antisemitism. He is currently in prison awaiting deportation from the UK.

The booking office for the Lords committee rooms confirmed that Baroness Tonge had booked the room from 3-5pm on Monday. The title of the meeting was "Raed Salah". The room had originally been booked by Labour peer Lord Ahmed, but he had to withdraw at the last minute because he had booked too many rooms.

The Islamist website Middle East Monitor, which helped organise Sheikh Salah's trip to the UK issued a press release on Wednesday outlining the cleric's itinerary.

It included the following item: "He began his programme of engagements on Sunday, which was followed with a roundtable in Parliament on Monday 27th June where he was speaking to a number of MPs, Lords and researchers in Committee Room 2A, in which he spoke for an hour. There was still no indication that he had been banned."

A spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats said: "Raed Salah was invited to speak by Baroness Tonge without the knowledge or consent of the Liberal Democrats".

Last updated: 10:58pm, June 29 2011