Outrage after Tory MP accused of Islamophobic tweets evades punishment

Michael Fabricant MP for Lichfield, speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons

Michael Fabricant MP for Lichfield, speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons - Credit: PA

There has been an outpouring of rage after Michael Fabricant, a Tory MP accused of sending Islamophobic tweets, will no longer face disciplinary action.

Fabricant has been acquitted of inciting Islamophobia after tweeting a message suggesting Muslims were not English.

In a now-deleted message, the MP for Lichfield tweeted: "Nationality and religion are not the same thing."

Fabricant had been replying to Miqdaad Versi, media spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), who criticised the Conservative Party over allegations of Islamophobia.

"Your spite and unpleasantness neither does the cause of tolerance in his country nor the cause of Anglo-Muslim relations any good at all,” the MP wrote.

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Versi called the response was "totally unacceptable" and said it had made Britain's Muslim community feel like a "separate category". This prompted Fabricant to accuse Versi of "deliberately milking and misreading" his point.

The MP then removed the reference to the word "anglo" and replaced it with "non-Muslim".

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"Michael Fabricant has clarified his tweet," a Conservative Party spokesperson said. "He is raising an important point about how it is the Labour Party that has been investigated by the EHRC for racism."

They added: "The Conservative Party does not tolerate prejudice and discrimination."

In a statement released by the party, Fabricant said: "I am clear that there is no connection between religion and nationality which is why I have clarified my tweet accordingly."

The MCB has called for an investigation into the comments. A spokesperson said: "Even though the Conservative Party faces hundreds of allegations of Islamophobia, Tory MP Michael Fabricant attacks MCB spokesperson Miqdaad Versi by urging him to look the other way and focus on bigotry elsewhere.

"The comment, be it inadvertent or not, betrays a view of Muslims institutionalised in sections of the Conservative Party - that Muslims are not part and parcel of British society."

The Conservative Party has been contacted for comment.

This comes after another Tory MP downplayed the issue of Islamophobia within the party.

Appearing on Politics Live, Andrew Mitchell MP said: "Let me be very clear about this. Whether it's anti-Semitism or racism, the Conservative Party has zero-tolerance for it. We have strong structures in the Tory Party to tackle it seriously."

This provoked Labour's Clive Lewis to rebut: "I'm in shock that you can have a home secretary and a party responsible for the Windrush scandal, forcibly deporting British citizens out of this country. 

"You have a home secretary floating the idea of deporting people to Ascension Island.

"This is a party rooted in racism and to say it doesn't exist is preposterous."

Responding to the news of Fabricant's acquittal, actor David Schneider tweeted: "IDEA FOR TORIES. Maybe address the racism and prejudice in your own party before pointing the finger at Labour."

Versi added: "When @Conservatives see an 'Anglo-Muslim' trope from an MP, who also asks a Muslim to ignore Islamophobia & focus on Labour antisemitism, do they show zero tolerance? No, they *praise* him 'He is raising an important point'. Who will hold them to account?"

"Time to suspend," tweeted Phil Brickell, prompting another user to add: "It's an outrage that Fabricant faces 'no further action' for his Islamophobia. No apology, no process of education."

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