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Labour condemns Tory failure to suspend councillors over ‘clear Islamophobic comments’

Labour condemns Tory failure to suspend councillors over ‘clear Islamophobic comments’
3 min read

Labour has criticised the Conservative party for its failure to suspend two serving councillors for allegedly making "Islamophobic" comments.

Waltham Forest councillor John Moss was condemned after screenshots posted by BuzzFeed appeared to show him suggesting “every 11-year-old girl” should be scared of Islam.

In response to a tweet about the right-wing journalist Douglas Murray winning an ‘Islamophobe of the Year’ award, he wrote: “An ‘Islamophobe’ is by definition somebody frightened of Muslims. Maybe we should nominate every 11 year old girl?”

He also tweeted that he rejected Islam's "barbarism, its sexism, its racism, its homophobia” and urged Muslims to “denounce those bits of the Quran they don’t live by”.

Meanwhile, East Riding Tory councillor Nick Coultish posted a tweet comparing the number of Muslims in Britain to German air attacks during the Second World War.

“Britain withstood the Blitz and got up, had a cup of tea and got on with rebuilding the next day. We will stand against the tide of Islam,” he said.

In another tweet he wrote: “Quote of the day: ‘There are two forces killing our people and our citizens: Islam and political correctness'."

The Conservative party told PoliticsHome it would not comment on ongoing investigations.

Shadow Equalities Minister Naz Shah said: “The Conservative party failing to take swift action in suspending councillors who have spouted clear Islamophobic comments just highlights how institutional the problem is within the party.”

Mr Coultish later apologised for his comments, telling the Guardian they “were made before university and at a low-point for me, I was upset and grieving and trying to make sense of the lives lost”.

“My comments were wholly reactionary and unthoughtful, I was referring to radical Islamic extremism, of course, not real Muslims who are peaceful and live with British Values," he added.

"I was young, not yet involved in politics in a big way and naïve. I’m sorry for any confusion or any offence my historic tweets caused.”

The Tories have faced calls in recent months from key party figures, including former chair Baroness Warsi and UK Muslim groups, to probe the extent of Islamophobia in party ranks.

The Muslim Council of Britain stepped up its calls for “a root and branch inquiry” into anti-Muslim sentiment among Tory members, following the latest revelations.

They told BuzzFeed: "The response we expected was the regular ritual of suspend, investigate and let back into the party without any real contrition or training with Muslim communities.

"But by not even suspending the councillors, they have failed to even reach the low bar they set themselves.

"An independent investigation by the EHRC is now needed as the party cannot be trusted to get its house in order."

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