A Tory peer said members of Hamas “may have” been at a Palestinian rights conference in Tunisia he and Jeremy Corbyn both attended.
Lord Sheikh, the founder of the Conservative Muslim Foundation (CMF), said he did not meet any figures from the banned terrorist organisation at the 2014 event in Tunis.
He also said he was not aware of, and did not attend, the wreath laying ceremony at the city’s Palestinian Martyrs’ Cemetery where the Labour leader was photographed.
The peer confirmed to the Press Association he attended the International Conference on Monitoring the Palestinian Political and Legal Situation in the Light of Israeli Aggression event four years ago.
He added: “There may have been Hamas. I did not meet any Hamas people, I am very careful, obviously.
“When I talk on Palestine I’m very balanced with regards to Palestine.
“If you read my speeches in the House of Lords I have always been very, very balanced on the whole issue. Both sides obviously have to come to a compromise.
“So I don’t sympathise with Hamas, I have no dealing with Hamas.”
The Kenya-born and Uganda-raised politician was made a peer in 2006, the year after he created the CMF.
He recently criticised Boris Johnson over comments the former foreign secretary made regarding the burka in a newspaper column.
On the CMF website Lord Sheikh described the 2014 event as “an international conference in Tunisia”.
He said that the north African country’s government paid for accommodation and flights, which had been declared at the time.
He said that he remembers Jeremy Corbyn being at the event but did not know beforehand that he would be there and “had no conversation with him”.
Lord Sheikh added: “If there was a wreath-laying ceremony I was not aware of the wreath-laying ceremony. I did not go to the ceremony.”