Tories sack local party chair after reports she told Muslim her hijab was ‘offensive’
PUBLISHED: 17:54 09 December 2019 | UPDATED: 19:10 09 December 2019
The chair of a local Conservative association has been asked to stand down by her party after reports emerged that she had told a Muslim woman her headscarf was ‘offensive’.
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Former chair of the Tories' Chipping Barnet wing, Fiona Bulmer, is said to have approached Sidrah Mohammed outside Asda in Southgate as part of general election canvassing efforts in one of the most marginal seats in the election.
The Conservatives have not denied the reports Mohammed posted to Facebook, describing how she had told former councillor Bulmer that she was concerned about Boris Johnson's actions encouraging Islamophobia and racism.
Bulmer reportedly responded by saying Johnson has her full support and the hijab she was wearing was "offensive".
Mohammed described how Bulmer "darted off" when she tried to film her, and even ended up comforting of the younger member of the Conservative canvassers who was also upset by the comment.
"I ended up hugging her and calming her down while her Tory colleagues left her," MyLondon reports her as saying.
"Make of that what you will. My first Islamophobic attack in my life was from a active Tory member.
"I'm part of no party. I'm just a British mum getting on with being an active and positive member of society. But apparently my wearing trousers, a rain coat and a small pink headscarf is offensive."
After the post was shared on Facebook and WhatsApp, the local Conservative association has not denied the encounter and has asked Bulmer to stand down.
They posted to Facebook: "We apologise for what was said and for the offence caused.
"We recognise that those holding office in a political party must take the greatest care to avoid anything which might be viewed as derogatory to any faith or minority community.
"That is why we asked Fiona to stand down as chairman of our local party, with immediate effect, and she will take no further part in the general election.
"The Conservative Party, both nationally and locally here in Chipping Barnet, condemns prejudice and discrimination and will always promote the values of equality and mutual respect between people of different faith and ethnic backgrounds. This view is shared by our candidate, Theresa Villiers."
Brexiteer Villiers is currently in a marginal seat where 62% of voters opted to Remain.
Part of Boris Johnson's cabinet, Villiers gained only 353 votes more than Labour's Emma Whysall in 2017, who is now standing again.
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