From The Independent: The Tell Mama project, which monitors anti-Muslim violence, has reported an increase in incidents of abuse aimed at women wearing the niqab or hijab over the past week [since Boris Johnson‘s derogatory comments].
From The Guardian: Boris Johnson’s support among grassroots Conservatives, already resurgent in the wake of his resignation over Brexit, appears to have been bolstered further by his claim that Muslim women in burqas resemble letterboxes and bank robbers.
Tory activists have claimed that party members admire the former foreign secretary’s “straight talking” on the controversial issue and suggested his words implied he had listened to some of their concerns about community integration.
One senior grassroots activist said the membership was unlikely to be offended by his choice of language. “I doubt it. They’ll know what Boris is doing. They know how he operates – and they like it. The grassroots talk straight and polishing everything with Westminster-speak is not the way they do it. It won’t do him any harm.”
[Read full article on Guardian website…] Below: Guardian cartoon by Martin Rowson
Tories name Brandon Lewis ‘voice of women in politics’ three weeks after he broke pairing with pregnant Jo Swinson
From Daily Mirror: The Conservative Party have named Brandon Lewis ‘the voice of women in politics’, three weeks after he broke an agreement designed to let female MPs take maternity leave.
In March, the then foreign secretary was forced to eat humble pie after referring to his Labour opposite number, Emily Thornberry, as the “Lady Baroness whatever” in the House of Commons – an apparent reference to the title of her husband, Sir Christopher Nugee.
His comment brought a sharp dressing down from the Speaker, John Bercow, who said his language was “inappropriate and frankly sexist”. A contrite Johnson insisted he had meant no harm and apologised “unreservedly” if he hurt Thornberry’s feelings.
More seriously, he faced calls to resign in November following claims that his careless comments about a British-Iranian woman held in Iran had jeopardised her chances of release. Giving evidence to the foreign affairs select committee, Johnson said Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe had been “training journalists” at the time of her arrest, even though she maintained she was on holiday.
Her dismayed family said the error had been seized upon by Iranian authorities as proof that she represented a threat to the government.
From The Courier: The chairman of the Scottish Conservatives’ youth wing has been accused of anti-Semitism after using a phrase developed by the Nazis.
James Bundy, an economics student at St Andrews University, posted on social media at the weekend about a BBC package about gender stereotypes and children that the corporation was using “his taxpayers money….to promote cultural Marxism” – sparking a backlash from some quarters.
The tweet was removed after The Courier asked the Tories about it, but Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer said it was “utterly unacceptable” for a leading figure within a mainstream political party to “use and normalise” a term which has such anti-Semitic underpinnings.
Cultural Marxism was a conspiracy theory developed in Nazi Germany to demonise Jews, and is a term consistently used by far-right groups such as the BNP.
Norwegian far-right mass murderer Anders Breivik also used the term over a hundred times in his “manifesto” before committing the Utoya Island massacre and Oslo bombing in July 2011.
From The Guardian: Theresa May is under pressure to explain whether she knew about allegations of “extreme bullying” against the disgraced former minister Andrew Griffiths when she promoted him to government within days of becoming prime minister.
Griffiths, the prime minister’s former chief of staff who was forced to resign as a minister for sending hundreds of sexually explicit messages to two women, had been accused of bullying a council leader for several years when May took office in July 2016.
The complaints are understood to include claims that the Tory MP sent abusive text messages to Richard Grosvenor, the leader of the Tory-run East Staffordshire borough council.
Despite the complaint being acknowledged by Conservative campaign headquarters (CCHQ) in emails up to January 2016, Grosvenor said his allegations were never properly investigated.
Six months later, in July 2016, Griffiths was appointed lord commissioner of the Treasury and senior government whip in May’s first government.
From The Guardian: Andrew Griffiths, the minister for small business, has resigned from the government after being found to have sent more than 2,000 explicit messages to two women in his constituency.
The Conservative MP for Burton, and Theresa May’s former chief of staff, released a statement saying apologising for what he had done, after the texts were put to him by the Sunday Mirror.
In the statement, the 47-year-old junior minister said: “I am deeply ashamed at my behaviour which has caused untold distress to my wife and family, to whom I owe everything, and deep embarrassment to the prime minister and the government I am so proud to serve.
He said he would be seeking professional help to address his unacceptable behaviour sending sex texts. “I do not seek to excuse my behaviour and will be seeking professional help to ensure it never happens again.
From Channel 4 News FactCheck: Michael Fabricant has been captured on video standing in front of what appeared to be the flag of apartheid South Africa on the mantelpiece of his parliamentary office.
South Africa used the tricolour design between 1928 and 1994, and it was flown throughout the apartheid era, when South Africans were forced to live separately along racial lines and non-white citizens were openly discriminated against.
The flag became a symbol of the apartheid system and was regularly set on fire by protesters in a show of defiance.
Earlier this year, the Nelson Mandela Foundation called for the old flag to be banned from public display after became a feature of demonstrations by white farmers in the country.
The foundation said: “These displays demonstrably compound the pain experienced by millions of black South Africans who suffered under apartheid and continue to struggle under its legacy.”
Asked why he had an apartheid-era South Africa flag on his mantelpiece, Mr Fabricant replied on Twitter: “It’s alongside an old soviet-era USSR Hammer & Sickle flag – just out of shot. The cameraman can confirm. They are places I went on work visits in the 1980s. I am neither a Communist nor a supporter of apartheid.”
From The Guardian: Sayeeda Warsi has called on the Conservatives to launch a “full independent inquiry” into Islamophobia in the party and warned the Tories were pursuing a politically damaging policy of denial about the problem in its own ranks.
The former Conservative party chair accused incumbent Brandon Lewis of a “woefully inept” response to recent complaints and added that MP Zac Goldsmith should receive “mandatory diversity training” following his unsuccessful attempt to beat Sadiq Khan to the London mayoralty.
Writing for the Guardian, Lady Warsi said: “I’ve been warning my party of its ‘Muslim problem’ for far too long,” and said that elite indifference to the issue meant the Tories were stuck with a political strategy that amounted little more than “fuck the Muslims”.
From Sky News: A proposed law to make “upskirting” a specific criminal offence has been blocked by a Tory MP.
The Voyeurism (Offences) Bill was stopped in its tracks when #Christchurch MP Sir Christopher Chope objected to it being given a second reading in the Commons.
The bill, which was proposed by Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse and supported by ministers, was expected to get the nod through the Commons on Friday.
Blocking its progress only requires one MP to shout “object” when the title of a private member’s bill is read out.
From The National: SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford asked: “Mr Speaker, what options are available to us in this house to ensure that the Government understands real concern among people in Scotland at this unprecedented power grab, and how can we make sure that our voices are heard?”
Immediately after the MP asks “what options are available”, an MP can be heard shouting “suicide”.
Multiple reports from the Chamber have suggested Tory MP Ian Liddell Grainger, who represents Bridgwater & West Somerset, was responsible for the comment.
Former Tory candidate quit party due to ‘uncomfortable lurch to the right which caused Islamophobia scandal’
From The Independent: A former Conservative parliamentary candidate who quit the party over its treatment of black and minority ethnic communities has said that, as the son of two refugees, he was “unable to look at himself in the mirror”.
Conservatives must launch urgent inquiry into Islamophobia in the party, Muslim Council of Britain demands
From The Independent: The Muslim Council of Britain has written to the Conservative Party calling for an urgent inquiry following “more than weekly occurrences of Islamophobia from candidates and representatives of the party”.
From Evolve Politics: 18 Conservative councillors and council candidates have been suspended from the Tory Party within the last month alone for alleged racism and abuse.
Despite the wall-to-wall coverage from the likes of the BBC of Labour’s struggles with anti-Semitism, the right-wing press has been extremely reluctant to report the sheer scale of racism and abuse emerging from the Conservative Party.
Following former Tory Minister Baroness Warsi exposing the fact that there are now “weekly occurrences of Islamophobic incidents” within the Conservative Party, the Muslim Council of Britain demanded that the Tories begin an inquiry into the racism epidemic engulfing the party – a demand which the Tories have flat-out ignored.
The BBC and the right-wing media have, for whatever reason, completely failed to bother reporting the story.
From The Guardian: Tory Government plans that will force people to prove their identities at polling stations in May’s local elections risk disenfranchising members of ethnic minority communities, according to a leaked letter to ministers from the equality and human rights watchdog.
In a move that will fuel controversy over the treatment of migrants in the UK following the Windrush scandal, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has written to the Cabinet Office minister David Lidington, raising its serious concern that the checks will deter immigrants and others from participating in the democratic process.
Under the new government voting rules, being trialled in several local authorities at the 3 May local elections, people will be asked at polling stations to produce documents proving their identity – such as a passport or driving licence – before casting their vote. Currently, no such proof is required.
The EHRC says evidence of supposed fraud is minimal and warns that there is a real risk that legal residents who might not have a passport or driving licence – or might be reluctant to produce them at polling stations – could be disenfranchised as a result.
Speaker Bercow intervened – to applause from some Labour MPs – after Mr Johnson referred to shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry as Lady Nugee.
Ms Thornberry is married to High Court judge Sir Christopher Nugee – but chooses to go by her maiden name.
Mr Bercow said it was “inappropriate” and sexist to refer to her as Lady Nugee.
Tory MP David Davies condemned for ‘transphobic’ and ‘abhorrent’ views by party’s official LGBT group
From London Evening Standard: Conservative Party vice-chairman Ben Bradley reportedly backed police brutality during the London riots. During the riots which hit London and other UK cities in 2011, The Times reported that Mr Bradley wrote: “We need to come down hard on these morons before somebody gets killed! …For once I think police brutality should be encouraged!”
From The Guardian: A Conservative MP who has been appointed as a party vice-chairman once suggested that unemployed people should opt for free vasectomies rather than continuing to have children they could not afford to support.
In a blog post, Ben Bradley claimed that the country would be soon “drowning in a vast sea of unemployed wasters” if workless families had four or five children while others limited themselves to one or two.