Tories suspend 14 members after Islamophobic comments found on pro-Jacob Rees Mogg Facebook page
The Conservatives have suspended 14 members after a string of anti-Muslim comments were posted on a pro-Tory Facebook page.
The party took action after being sent a string of posts from the the unofficial 'Jacob Rees-Mogg Supporters Group', which is used by Tory members.
Messages on the group, unearthed by the @MatesJacob Twitter account, include a call to "get rid of all mosques" and a member who called for Muslims to be thrown off a bridge.
A Conservative party spokesperson said: “This Facebook group is in no way affiliated with the Conservative Party and many of the people identified on it are not party members.
"However we have identified some people who are party members and they have been immediately suspended, pending further investigation.
"When we find evidence of members making offensive or inappropriate comments, we consistently take decisive action. Discrimination or abuse of any kind is wrong and will not be tolerated."
Mr Rees-Mogg also sought to distance himself from the group, saying: "Islamophobes have no place in the Tory party and it is encouraging that we have acted swiftly unlike the Socialists."
The move came amid mounting criticism of the party's handling of anti-Muslim abuse in its ranks, and just hours after a Harrow Tory council candidate quit the Conservatives after PoliticsHome's revealed he had been allowed to run for the party again despite being previously disciplined for Islamophobic social media posts.
Top Muslim charity Tell Mama - which was set up with government backing to help record Islamophobic attacks - said the Tories had still not done enough to root out prejudice despite a meeting with Conservative chairman Brandon Lewis last year.
Founder Fiyaz Mughal said: "I met with the Chair of the Conservatives, some 7 months ago. He was personable and genuinely committed to tackle hate.
"However, I had made clear that unless affected associations were not supported, provided with training and their systems and processes of weeding out people with hateful views strengthened, then these problems would continue.
"I impressed on him that some of us within Tell MAMA would even volunteer our time on a personal basis and this was never taken up.
"This problem is not going away unless there is transparency in the process of addressing anti-Muslim hate and where an independent group of people can conduct the activities mentioned on an urgent basis."
And Baroness Warsi, a former co-chair of the Conservatives, said the party had an "institutional" problem with Islamophobia and must do more to root it out.