The controversial nomination of a Khalistan supporter to the House of Lords has been delayed and its announcement is expected in January, campaign group Sikh Federation UK said on Wednesday, following reports that Labour Party has dropped his nomination.
Dabinderjit Singh Sidhu, principal adviser to the group, was to be one of the new political peers, but his name was missing when the list was released by Downing Street on Monday.
His potential appointment raised hackles in sections of the Indian community in the UK and New Delhi.
The group said in a statement, “Our understanding is (Labour leader) Keir Starmer recommended Dabinderjit to fill one of the nominations given to the Labour Party by the prime minister.
“The House of Lords appointments commission carried out all the necessary checks and concluded weeks ago Dabinderjit was of good standing in the community and had no concerns on his past conduct that would call into question his appointment to the House of Lords as a Labour peer.”
“Dabinderjit’s name then went to the prime minister and Buckingham Palace for formal sign-off. Formal sign-off had been obtained and the only matter outstanding was a public announcement,” it added.
The statement noted that minutes before the list was released on Monday, Labour decided to delay Singh Sidhu’s announcement.
“Much has been made in the Indian media of Dabinderjit’s support for the re-establishment of an independent Sikh state. This should not be a matter of concern for Labour as there are many MPs and Lords who have strong personal views in relation to Kashmir, Palestine and the establishment of other independent states,” the statement added.
According to the group, Singh Sidhu was never a member of the International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF), which is banned in India.
The UK had banned it in 2001, but the ban was lifted in 2016.
The statement added that he has not held any official position in the Sikh Federation UK that was set up in September 2003, but has been one of its volunteer advisers.