Mohamed Iltaf Sheikh, Baron Sheikh is a British politician and businessman. He was formerly an insurance broker and underwriter.
Early life and professional career
Mohamed Sheikh was born in Kenya and raised in Uganda. He arrived in the UK in 1962 and later studied at the Holborn College of Law, Languages and Commerce and the City College of London. Lord Sheikh then received training at a major insurance company, Sun Alliance and London Group.
Previously, he was the chairman and Chief Executive of Lloyd's Brokers, Camberford Law PLC, which was awarded 12 major awards over a period of three years and this has not been achieved by any other organisation since.
He is now the Chairman of companies relating to Property and other businesses.
For a period of 12 years Lord Sheikh was a visiting lecturer at various colleges and polytechnics and in addition to lecturing he has also written educational material. He has written extensively on insurance subjects in various publications and he speaks at numerous meetings and conferences on business a well as leadership matters.
He has been described as a businessman, academic, philanthropist and writer.
Lord Sheikh has been added to the 21 Indiaspora Government Leaders List which recognises more than 200 government leaders of Indian heritage in 15 countries around the world. The Indiaspora Lists highlight the advances of the Indian diaspora and raise their profile in the global consciousness in areas such as government, business, academia, and philanthropy.
Lord Sheikh was appointed a life peer in 2006 after he was nominated by Michael Howard MP, then Leader of the Conservative Party. The life barony conferred upon Mohamed Iltaf Sheikh was gazetted on 6 June 2006 by the name, style and title of Baron Sheikh, of Cornhill in the City of London.
He is an active Peer and speaks regularly in the House of Lords on a variety of subjects. He has travelled extensively overseas and visited a number of countries and at present works towards expanding trade between the United Kingdom and overseas countries.
He has founded and Co-Chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Islamic and Ethical Finance in British Parliament. It is a robust body and receives support from British Parliamentarians from all the political parties. He is actively involved in promoting Islamic and Ethical finance in UK and in overseas countries.
He is co-chair of the APPG on Turkey and the Prevention of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity. He is also a vice-chair of the APPGs on Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nepal, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan.
Sheikh first joined the Conservative Party in 2004. He founded the Conservative Muslim Forum and chaired it for several years. He is now President of the Forum, He sits on the Conservative benches in the House of Lords and he is actively involved in promoting the Conservative Party to ethnic minorities.
Lord Sheikh has been honoured by the presentation of several personal awards which have been given to him for his achievements, leadership, business and community work. He has also been awarded an honorary doctorate for Humanitarian work which he undertakes.
He is committed to the building or harmonious relationships between various racial and religious groups.
He founded and funds a registered personal and family charity, in his father's memory. The charity amongst other things, recognises and rewards the attainment of young people who are the rising starts and will hopefully be the future leaders. The charity also supports a number of deserving causes in the UK and oversees.
He is a patron of the charity Orphans in Need, and also supports other charities.
He has been a visiting lecturer at Universities and acts as an advisor to a British University. He promotes educational and cultural ties between the UK and other countries.
National Muslim War Memorial Trust
Lord Sheikh is the chairman and a founding member of the recently established National Muslim War Memorial Trust
Other members of the board of trustees include the Vice-Chairman Major General (Retd) Charles Sebastian Fattorini WO MA FCMI psc+, The Lord Lexden OBE, Mr Makhdum Ali Chishty QPM SI LLB (Hons) PGFHId and Mr Mohammed Amin MBE FRSA MA FCA AMCT CTA (Fellow).
The Trust objectives of the trust are for the erection and maintenance of a national war memorial to commemorate the services of Muslim personnel to Britain's Armed Forces during the two World Wars and subsequent conflicts. The Trust will also undertake an educational role to promote in schools, colleges and the wider public arena the contributions of Muslims to Britain's Armed Forces.
The initiative is supported by the British Government and General Sir Nicolas Carter, Chief of Defence.
Books by Lord Sheikh
Lord Sheikh is also a writer. His first book, "Emperor of the Five Rivers: The Life and Times of Maharajah Ranjit Singh" was very well received, and his second, "An Indian in the House" is on the lives and times of the four trailblazers who first brought India to the British Parliament. All proceeds from these books are donated to charity.
He has finalised his third book, which is a historical novel based in India during the period of the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar.
Defamation Case Win
On 15 August 2018 MailOnline published an article headed "EXCLUSIVE: Top Tory Peer’s appearance at Corbyn's 'hate conference' in Tunisia comes after YEARS of rubbing shoulders with Islamists, hate preachers and Holocaust deniers".
Lord Sheikh took action against the publishers, Associated Newspapers Ltd, and the case was ruled entirely in his favour.
The article also referred to Mahathir Mohamad, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Hassan Hseeb ur-Rehman, the East London Mosque, and the al-Mutanda Trust. Unfounded accusations were also made regarding an oversees visits, to Syria in 2009 which was for humanitarian reasons.
Associated Newspapers Ltd apologised to Lord Sheikh in a Statement in Open Court which was read out by their lawyer before Mr Justice Warby:
"9. My Lord, on behalf of the Defendant, I confirm everything my learned Friend has said. 10. The Defendant through me offers its sincere apologies to the Claimant for the distress, embarrassment and upset caused to him by the publication of the Article. The Defendant accepts there was and is no truth in the allegations advanced in the Article and is happy to set the record straight and apologise to the Claimant."
Complaint by MPs "unequivocally dismissed"
In 2018 two Conservative Members of Parliament, Zac Goldsmith MP and Robert Halfon MP, complained to the Conservative party that Lord Sheikh had breeched the Conservative party's code of conduct. There were various allegations made by the two Members of Parliament which were totally unfounded and unsubstantiated, and furthermore both of them tweeted unsavoury remarks.
The matter was fully looked into by an independent panel chaired by a QC and the complaint was unequivocally dismissed and Lord Sheikh was totally exonerated on every count. There was no justification for the complaint to be lodged. This complaint was referred to in the Associated Newspaper article and the statement read by the lawyer acting for Associated Newspapers Ltd included the following paraph:
The Defendant was informed in the letter that a complaint made to the Conservative Party by the two MPs named in the article had been considered and unequivocally dismissed in November 2018, by the party’s independent Code of Conduct panel.
- Sheikh, Mohamed (2017). Emperor of the five rivers: the life and times of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. London: I.B.Tauris. ISBN 978-1-84885-754-4. OCLC 894340672.
- Sheikh, Mohamed (2019). An Indian In The House: The lives and times of the four trailblazers who first brought India to the British Parliament. [S.l.]: Mereo Books. ISBN 978-1-86151-490-5. OCLC 1080075581.