Conservative ex-minister joins attacks on Tory local election leaflet branded 'racist'

Posted On: 
28th March 2018

A Conservative former minister has lashed out at an allegedly racist party leaflet that accused Labour of planning to create an “inner city area” in Havering.

The local Tory election leaflet in Havering
Credit: 
PA Images

Nick Boles said the Tories “cannot attack Corbyn for indulging anti-semitism in Labour and allow messages like this to go unchallenged”.

It comes amid a major row following the revelation that Jeremy Corbyn defended an anti-Semitic mural on Facebook in 2012.

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The Conservative party in Havering produced a newsletter urging voters to back the “local” Tories at the upcoming May elections to “keep Havering special”.

It warned that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and London mayor Sadiq Khan wanted to turn Havering into “boroughs like Hackney, Newham, Camden and barking, rather than a traditional part of Essex".

“Romford will increasingly become like an inner city area, if Labour get their way and seize control of Havering Town Hall in May!” the leaflet warned.

It said there would be “massive population increases… vast numbers of high rise blocks of flats… [and] a London crime wave with even less police”.

It also warned that “our cherished Union Jack flag [will be] taken down - back to Labour’s political correctness”.

The Stand Up To Racism Campaign urged Theresa May to take “immediate action”, and blasted: “There must be no place in the local elections for whipping up racism to win votes.”

And former skills minister Mr Boles weighed in to say: “This leaflet is disgraceful.”

He added: “The individuals responsible should apologise, and withdraw it, or face disciplinary action.

“We cannot attack Corbyn for indulging anti-Semitism in Labour and allow messages like this to go unchallenged.”

Tory activist and Essex councillor Stephen Canning, responding to a Twitter user who called it a “dog whistle racist” campaign added: “I don’t like that advert one bit.”

FACEBOOK POST 'REGRET'

Elsewhere, Tory MP Bob Blackman expressed “sincere regret” after he was accused of “endorsing Islamophobia” on Facebook.

The Harrow East MP shared a story from Hardcore News USA with the headline: “Muslim Somali sex gang say raping white British children ‘part of their culture'.”

But Miqdaad Versi, the assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, tweeted: “Deeply disappointing to see Tory MP Bob Blackman once again endorse Islamophobia."

Mr Blackman had in 2016 retweeted co-founder of the English Defence League Tommy Robinson “in error”.

Yesterday he said: “I deleted the link as I saw that the headline to the article was phrased inappropriately. I can confirm that I have never visited the website in question and am not part of any group related to it.

“I sincerely regret any upset caused to the Muslim Council of Britain or the wider community for my error.”

Meanwhile, Mr Corbyn has come under increasing pressure to explain directly to Labour MPs how he plans to root out anti-Semitism from the party.