British opposition leader's private secretary reportedly refused Commons pass after scrutiny of known associates
Jeremy Corbyn investigated over aide's security breach
Security concerns surrounding the inner circle of Jeremy Corbyn, the hard-left leader of the British opposition Labour Party, were pitched into the spotlight Wednesday as it emerged one of his close lieutenants had failed to gain security clearance to work in parliament.
A spokesman for the House of Common's authorities said it had launched an investigation into a reported violation of its regulations. "An investigation into an alleged breach of parliamentary rules has been launched so we will not be commenting further," the official said.
Leo Docherty, a Conservative MP, had written a letter expressing his concern over the report, prompting the inquiry. "Awan has not received the necessary clearance. It is further concerning that reports have stated Mr Corybn knew his employee did not have the necessary clearance, and that she continued to work in his office on the estate," he said.
“You will not need me to remind you how we have seen in recent months and years how the security of Parliament is a matter of the utmost importance.
In the latest revelation Iram Awan, the private secretary in his Westminister office, has drawn concern over her ties to a charity set up in tribute to a Libyan terrorist who spent time in Afghanistan's terror training camps. Andrew Murray, a veteran Communist who works for Mr Corbyn, has also failed to pass the security screening.
Mr Corbyn’s links with a variety of Muslim Brotherhood and Iranian-backed organisations is viewed with alarm across a wide spectrum of the political mainstream.
Miss Awan has worked for Mr Corbyn at Westminster for nine months but is spirited past the airport style security by colleagues after obtaining an ordinary visitors pass. According to the Huffington Post news site the parliamentary authorities failed to issue the credentials after a counter terrorism check "due to questions over known associates".
The British-born aide has identified herself as a supporter of the Helping Households Under Great Stress (HHUGS) charity, which has in the past drawn scrutiny from the regulator, the Charity Commission, for alleged irregularities.
HHUGS is a sister organisation to CAGE, the outfit that campaigns for the legal rights of Al Qaeda leaders and boasts Moazzam Begg, a former Guantanamo inmate as its director.
On its website, HHUGS posts a long tribute to Faraj Hassan Al Saadi, a former member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, who was convicted of terror offences in Italy. Al Saadi, who died in a traffic accident in 2010, was at one point named as the European recruiter for Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, the founder of Al Qaeda in Iraq.
Mr Corbyn's office dismissed the claims as an attempt to disrupt the workings of his team by the security services.
The development comes days after Mr Corbyn's supporters ties to Iran were questioned when one Iranian television channel broadcast the scenes inside an internal party meeting to oust one of his fiercest critics as an MP. Joan Ryan suffered a defeat in her Enfield North seat. Robert Carter, who worked for Press TV, has been suspended by the party.
Yasime Dar, a Labour activist who topped the polls at last months elections for Labour's NEC, has been exposed as an Iran sympathiser. She is seen at a Manchester event commemorating the Iranian revolution, praising the "diplomacy, peace and justice" of the Tehran regime.