Conservative party members suspended, pending investigation, after Dispatches uncovers fresh concerns of Islamophobia

Category: News Article, News Release

TX: DISPATCHES, 8PM, MONDAY 8 JULY 2019, CHANNEL 4

A Dispatches investigation looking at the battle for the Tory Party reveals concerns the Conservatives have lurched further to the right, and uncovers fresh allegations of Islamophobia within the party. 

The programme, Dispatches: Battle For The Tory Party, which airs on Monday 8 July at 8pm on Channel 4, examines Islamophobic posts on Facebook from self-identifying members of the Conservative Party. Some of the posts are from members claiming to be supporters of leading MPs, including one of the leadership contenders, Boris Johnson.

One member of the Boris Johnson Supporters Group said: ‘I would ban all Muslim (sic) from entering the whole of Great Britain.

A member of the Jacob Rees Mogg Appreciation Society said: “Two mega mosques agreed planning permission in Maidstone and Worcester how we feel about this” another person posted: “WRONG”.

A post quoted from a personal page said: Islamic filth what a horrific cult.With another posting: “Signs you may be Muslim. You have more wives than teeth. You own a £5000 rocket launcher but can’t afford shoes. And most significantly…You wipe your arse with your bare hand but consider bacon unclean.”

The posts were provided to Dispatches by a social media user.

In response Conservative Central Office told Dispatches:  “Those people making these posts that we have found to be members of the party have been suspended pending investigation. Discrimination or abuse of any kind is wrong and will not be tolerated.

Jacob Rees-Mogg told Dispatches the Facebook group is not an official supporters' group, saying: “I absolutely condemn such behaviour.  Anyone who behaves in such a way is not one of my supporters and should be reported.

Dispatches commissioned YouGov to survey 892 Conservative Party members to find out their attitudes. It revealed 56% believed Islam is a general threat to the British way of life.

The next British Prime Minister will not be chosen by parliamentarians or the wider public. Instead around 160,000 Party members get to decide who will lead Britain through one of the most turbulent periods in modern history. Dispatches also asked the members - who Hunt and Johnson are battling for – what they think about other  big social issues. It found:

•          42% thought having people from a wide variety of racial and cultural backgrounds  has damaged British Society

•          58% support the death penalty for certain crimes

•          49% said schools shouldn’t be required to educate kids about LGBT relationships

•          51%  thought most people on benefits could get a job if they tried hard enough

•          46% said concerns about climate change had been exaggerated – the threat is not as real as many scientists have said

Channel 4 News’ Political Editor Gary Gibbon looks at how the leadership contest plays out at a time when the Party is bitterly divided and under fire from the newly formed Brexit Party. It is a critical moment for the Conservatives’ future. Leaderless and vulnerable, what happens next will dictate the fortunes of the country.

The investigation examines concerns the party has lurched to the right.  From the Dispatches survey, 54% of party members thought Donald Trump would make a good Prime Minister. How much do the Tory faithful view Boris Johnson as the British Trump and could this help him win the leadership race? Lord Marland, a Boris Johnson ally and key member of his campaign to be London mayor tells Gary Gibbon: “He is seen as a disruptor and people want a disruptive politician at the moment…and often the disruptive figures turn out to be extremely good leaders and I think that’s why a lot of people have decided to back Boris. I think he could be a great British Prime Minister.

When asked which candidate they thought would make the more trustworthy Prime Minister 32% of the members said Jeremy Hunt against 52% for Boris Johnson.