Tory party says it will take no action against MP Michael Fabricant
Tory party says it will take no action against MP Michael Fabricant after he was accused of suggesting Muslims could not be English in tweet about ‘Anglo-Muslim relations’
- Tory MP Michael Fabricant wrote the message during debate with Miqdaad Versi
- He later deleted post and rewrote it to say ‘Muslims and non-Muslims’ relations
- Mr Versi accused MP of ‘implying English and Muslim are separate categories’
- Tory Party said it ‘does not tolerate discrimination’ and MP has ‘clarified tweet’
The Tory party has said it will take no action against MP Michael Fabricant after he was accused of suggesting Muslims could not be English in a tweet about ‘Anglo-Muslim relations’.
Mr Fabricant wrote the message during a debate yesterday afternoon with Miqdaad Versi, media spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), on allegations of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party.
In a tweet that has since been deleted, the Tory MP for Lichfield in Staffordshire posted: ‘Your spite and unpleasantness neither does the cause of tolerance in this country nor the cause of Anglo-Muslim relations any good at all.’
He later removed the tweet and rewrote it in a new post, replacing ‘the cause of Anglo-Muslim relations’ with ‘the cause of relations between Muslims and non-Muslims’.
Michael Fabricant (pictured right) wrote the message during a debate yesterday afternoon with Miqdaad Versi (left), media spokesperson for the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB)
In a now-deleted tweet (above), the MP said: ‘Your spite and unpleasantness neither does the cause of tolerance in this country nor the cause of Anglo-Muslim relations any good at all’
In response, Mr Versi accused the politician of ‘implying English and Muslim are separate categories’.
The MCB’s spokesperson tweeted: ‘As part of Conservative MP Michael Fabricant’s attack on me for highlighting Islamophobia in the Conservative Party, he chose to imply English & Muslim are separate categories by saying I am harming “Anglo-Muslim relations”.
‘This is totally unacceptable.’
In a statement, Mr Fabricant said: ‘I am clear that there is no connection between religion and nationality, which is why I have clarified my tweet accordingly.’
A Conservative Party spokesperson told The Guardian: ‘Michael Fabricant has clarified his tweet.
‘He is raising an important point about how it is the Labour party that has been investigated by the EHRC for racism. The Conservative party does not tolerate prejudice and discrimination.’
The MP later said the tweet had been ‘sloppily worded’, telling HuffPost UK: ‘My tweet was sloppily worded and the Twitteratii have seized on it.
‘Religion and nationality are two very different issues. So I deleted the tweet and phrased it “Muslims and non-Muslims” instead to clarify what I meant.’
But he also accused Mr Versi of ‘deliberately milking’ the original post, tweeting: ‘This character is deliberately milking and misreading the fact that I criticise his tweets for being divisive, damaging to Muslim and non-Muslim relations in this country all for his own ends, and not calling out #LabourAntisemitism.
‘Nationality & religion are NOT the same thing.’
Mr Versi accused the politician of ‘implying English and Muslim are separate categories’, while Mr Fabricant claimed the media spokesperson was ‘deliberately milking’ his original tweet. Other Twitter users also reacted to the now-deleted post
Other Twitter users reacted to the now-deleted original post, with Dr Richard McNeil-Willson writing: ‘Mr Fabricant MP, telling off a Muslim for discussing Tory Islamophobia whilst referring to “Anglo-Muslim relations”.
‘Bonus points for implying intolerance and xenophobia is the fault of its victims.’
Jonathan Portes said: ‘If a Labour MP responded like this to a member of the Board of Deputies of British Jews who had tweeted some examples of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party there would, rightly, be calls for his/her expulsion.
‘Michael Fabricant should stop digging and apologise and withdraw now.’
Dr Matt Lodder added: ‘As I said: this country’s discourse is fundamentally broken.
‘Utterly absurd that a Tory MP can be racist *in a threat denying Tory racism* and the narrative stubbornly refuses to shift.’
Referring to why he removed the original tweet, Mr Fabricant wrote: ‘I deleted it because some people chose to misinterpret it.
‘I replaced it with Muslims and non-Muslims which is clearer. Religion/no-religion and nationality are two different matters. I hope that answer is helpful.’
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