Sunday, June 26 2016

MPs and lawyers protest shunning of Babar Ahmad e-petition

 The BBC reports on the Backbench Business Committee’s disgraceful dismissal of the e-petition calling for Babar Ahmad’s extradition proceedings to be halted and his trial to be conducted in the UK.

The Committee have decided to hold the debate on the issue in Westminster Hall rather than in the Commons chamber.

Ahmad’s e-petition is one of only six to have amassed more than 100,000 signatures - it currently has over 140,000 – and e-petitions with far fewer signatures have been granted the privilege of a Commons debate.

From the BBC:

“MPs are to debate the case of a terrorism suspect whose official e-petition, calling for him to be tried in the UK, gathered 140,000 signatures.

“Babar Ahmad, of Tooting, London, has been held in jail for seven years without trial while challenging extradition to the US.

“His case will come up in a Westminster Hall debate on extradition later.

“Mr Ahmad's supporters say signatories are being dismissed by the failure to hold the debate in the Commons.

“Under the e-petition system, an issue can be considered for possible debate in the Commons if it gathers more than 100,000 signatures.

“Green MP Caroline Lucas said she would be urging a full debate in the Commons.

“She said: "That the e-petition to grant Babar Ahmad a UK trial has gained such astounding support so quickly shows the level of public anger.

“"While I accept it is difficult for the backbench committee to devote parliamentary time in the Commons chamber to every petition that passes the 100,000 threshold, the fact that this campaign was not a high profile newspaper-led effort, but a purely grass roots one makes it a particularly strong contender."

“Earlier in the week, 100 lawyers, including seven QCs, wrote to Commons leader Sir George Young attacking the decision to relegate Mr Ahmad's case to a debate in Westminster Hall, rather than allowing a vote in the Commons.

“"The petition is one which goes to the heart of the values which we cherish so dearly - the right to a fair trial," said the letter.

“It said it was wrong to shunt Mr Ahmad's case into Westminster Hall when the e-petition on immigration, with fewer signatures, is expected to be held in the Commons in the New Year.”

You can raise your concerns by writing to the Backbench Business Committee chair, Natascha Engel MP on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it questioning the decision made by the committee on the e-petition regarding Babar Ahmad and urge that parliamentary time be allotted for a full debate in the Commons Chamber as has been the privilege granted to other petitions with far fewer signatures.
You can find out more by visiting

Last Updated on Monday, 28 November 2011 18:34

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