Tulip Siddiq apologises for “threatening remark” to pregnant Channel 4 producer

Tulip Siddiq MP

Labour MP Tulip Siddiq has apologised for “apparently threatening” a pregnant Channel 4 producer when she asked about a barrister who was abducted and detained in Bangladesh.

Ms Siddiq, who sits on the Women and Equalities Committee in Parliament, has apologised for the comments she made to a Channel 4 News producer about having a difficult childbirth.

She was asked whether she would do anything to campaign for the release of British-trained barrister, Ahmad bin Quasem, who has been imprisoned in Bangladesh last year.

Ms Siddiq’s maternal aunt – Sheikh Hasina – is the prime minister of Bangladesh.

After a heated exchange with Channel 4 News reporter, Alex Thomson, Ms Siddiq said to his producer, Daisy Ayliffe, who is pregnant: “Thanks Daisy for coming. Hope you have a great birth because child labour is hard”.

In his report, Thomson described Siddiq’s comments as “apparently threatening”.

The programme’s editor, Ben de Pear, later said he had complained to the MP and the Labour party.

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In a statement published on Twitter, Ms Siddiq, said: “I want to apologise unreservedly for my comments to Channel 4’s producer, which were an offhand and ill-judged attempt to deal with what I felt was a hostile situation. I would never want to upset her and I hope she accepts my apology.”

Thomson tried to ask Siddiq about the case of Ahmad bin Quasem while she was at a rally in support of the jailed British-Iranian teacher, Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Channel 4 News said it had previously tried to contact the Labour MP about the case of Bin Quasem, who human rights organisations say was kidnapped by Bangladeshi security forces.

When questioned by Thomson, Siddiq repeatedly asked the reporter whether Bin Quasem was a citizen of Britain or a resident of Hampstead and Kilburn, of which he is neither.

Before the comment to Ayliffe, Siddiq said to Thomson: “I’m a Labour MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, I’m a British member of parliament. Be very careful.

“I’m not Bangladeshi and the person you are talking about, I have no idea about their case. That is the end of my statement.”

Siddiq has consistently voiced support for her aunt’s political party – the secular Awami League.

She has also said on numerous occasions that Sheikh Hasina has always been her role model and that she would use this family relationship to help British Bangladeshis.

The Hasina regime is infamously known for its brutal clampdown on Islamic groups and movements, as well as orchestrating the execution of opposition leaders via the International Crimes Tribunal for alleged war crimes committed during the country’s independence war.

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