Jeremy Hunt tells Tory Islamophobes: I don't want your vote
Jeremy Hunt has told Islamophobic Tory members that he does not want them to vote for him to be the party's next leader.
The Foreign Secretary told the latest leadership hustings event that racists who had "slipped through the net" and held onto their membership card were not welcome to back him in the contest.
ITV News has compiled a dossier of nearly 200 people claiming to be Conservative members who have posted Islamophobic comments online.
The broadcaster also revealed that some of those being investigated by the party can still vote in the leadership contest.
Asked about the revelation, Mr Hunt - who has pledged to establish an independent investigation into Tory Islamophobia if he becomes leader - said: “Well if there is anyone who has those prejudices who has managed to slip through the net and is voting in this election don’t vote for me I don’t want your vote.”
He added: “We have to root out all prejudice in our own party including Islamophobia, so that’s why I support an independent inquiry.
“But the reality is that before you can deprive someone of their vote there has to be due process, that is fair but normally what happens when that is happening is people are suspended, that’s the normal practice I support that normal practice.”
Rival candidate Boris Johnson also told hustings in York on Thursday that he didn’t want people with prejudice to be in the party.
He said: “I don’t want people who are convicted of the kind of prejudice that you describe to take part in our party.”
But he added: “One thing I would say is I think sometimes it is important also that we have a culture that allows people to speak frankly and doesn’t convict them of malice aforethought.”