WATCH: Tory chairman says members suspended over Islamophobic remarks could be let back in if they apologise
Tory chairman Brandon Lewis has said that members who are suspended over Islamophobic comments could be allowed back into the party if they show “contrition” or apologise.
The Great Yarmouth MP said the party’s internal processes should reflect the justice system in giving people a “second chance”, and that sanctions forced on members included diversity training, apologies, suspension and expulsion “depending on what the offence is”.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, he said: “Let me be very clear, we believe in actually trying to change behaviour.
“I think as a country and particularly with social media more generally we should be looking to change behaviour and if somebody shows contrition, apologises, understands why what they did was wrong and doesn’t reoffend, I think like our general justice system, people do have the opportunity to have a second chance.”
The party has been accused of “institutional” Islamophobia by former co-chair Baroness Warsi, and has suspended members, candidates and serving councillors over anti-Muslim remarks.
The comments come after BuzzFeed reported last week that some members who had been suspended were told they could have their membership restored after six months.
Mr Lewis refused to confirm the details of cases and on how many members had been expelled when asked in light of the party's claim to have a “fully transparent process for investigating complaints”.
He added: “I’m not going to go into details of specific numbers. Its actually a very, very small number of people who have had complaints about… who are members of the Conservative Party and we deal with complaints immediately.”
Watch the exchange below: