Action / Campaigns

Revealed: New evidence of Islamophobia among Conservative Party officials and activists

Throughout 2019 there was a steady flow of allegations made against Conservative Party councillors, activists and members which, when viewed alongside the polling of members conducted by YouGov in July, paints a picture of a party that has a significant problem with anti-Muslim sentiment at local level. Now HOPE Not Hate can reveal a new dossier of Islamophobic social media posts by more than twenty Tory officials and activists, including six sitting councillors. We are calling on CCHQ to take immediate action against these individuals, and will continue to demand that they take proper steps to tackle the Islamophobia crisis that has gripped the party at every level.

Cllr Steve Vickers, Nottinghamshire County Council

After the Nice attacks, Cllr Vickers claimed that Sadiq Khan “and his brethren” were “part of the problem”. He went on to inquire as to whether an Islamic school in Nottinghamshire would be making a statement on the attacks, but also stated that such a statement would be “too little too late”

Cllr Sonia Armstrong, Harworth and Bircotes Town Council

Town councillor and local party chair Sonia Armstrong has posted a number of anti-Muslim rants to her Facebook profile, including this one that was triggered by Theresa May wishing UK Muslims a happy Eid:

Cllr Judith Clementson, Winchester City Council

City councillor Judith Clementson uses the anonymous Twitter handle @Clem205 to post Islamophobic conspiracy theories about a “dangerous Muslim agenda for world domination”

Cllr Karl Lewis, Llandinam Community Council

On the night of Donald Trump’s election win, Cllr Lewis posted gleefully that “all the immigrants are shitting themselves”, which made it “another brilliant political night.”

Cllr Derek Bullock, Bolton Council

Cllr Bullock posted an article about Sayeeda Warsi from anti-Muslim activist Robert Spencer’s ‘JihadWatch’, to which he added “She’s been a cuckoo in the nest!”

Cllr Ranjit Pendhar Singh Gill, Hounslow

Borough councillor for Turnham Green, Cllr Gill gleefully celebrated the election of Trump and his promised exclusion of Muslims, along with alarmist posts about how 75 million Muslim Turks are planning to “infiltrate the UK”.

Parliamentary Assistant Fraser McFarland

In September of 2019, the Parliamentary Caseworker for Brendan Clarke-Smith shared an article by Debbie Schlussel, a notorious anti-Muslim activist. This lengthy rant contained innumerable Islamophobic generalisations, and placed collective responsibility for the 9/11 attacks at the feet of the entire global Muslim community.

“…the 9/11 attacks were the best public relations move ever by Muslims, who got America […] to bend over backwards (and forward) for Islam, Muslims, their intolerance, and their regressive, backward ways”

Quote from an article shared by Fraser McFarland

Ex-Cllr Bryan Denson, Wakefield

Mr Denson, who has served multiple terms as councillor and led the Conservative Opposition on Wakefield Council between 2007 and 2009, shared a post by the far-right English Democrats party that sought to associate Islam generally with the acts of extremists:

Ex-Cllr Gail Hall

Ex-Cllr Gail Hall has shared countless anti-Muslim posts from far-right pages, including calling Muslims “savages” and promoting conspiracy theories about Muslim officials and has ‘liked’ comments that refer to Muslims as “Scumbags” who should “sling their hooks back to their ancestral homelands”.

Ex-Cllr Christopher Meakin, Southwark

Leader of the Conservative opposition on Southwark council in the 70s and 80s, Meakin also stood for Southwark council in 2002. Meakin has written dozens of disturbing posts advocating the the murder of Muslim migrants and his belief in the conspiracy theory that Europe is being “invaded”. 

Ex-Cllr Susanna Dixon, Coventry

Former Coventry City councillor from 2004 – 2012, Susanna Dixon has shared and liked numerous misleading articles about British Muslims from far-right sources including Britain First. These include false stories regarding attacks on British soldiers by “gangs of Muslims” and the allegation that “Islamofascists” were taking over British towns.

Ex-Cllr Martin Akehurst, Henley-On-Thames

Martin Akehurst, who served as both Town- and District councillor between 2010 and 2017 has endorsed a number of anti-Muslim posts on social media. He ‘liked’ a post that said “Muslims hate everything and everyone who is not Muslim. They have no conception of truth”, and he has endorsed the conspiracy theory that immigration is intended to “obliterate” the host culture. 

2019 Council Candidate Liam Christopher Ritchie

Liam Ritchie shared a post from Leave.EU that spread an alarmist narrative about ‘Londonistan’ and Sadiq Khan:

2019 Council Candidate Roger Vernon, Bassetlaw

Candidate Roger Vernon has shared a number of anti-Muslim posts, including one that compares moderate Muslims to Germans living under the Nazis and another that suggests that Muslims “bring Islamophobia on themselves”.

2019 Council Candidate Deidre Vernon, Bassetlaw

Deidre Vernon, wife of Roger (see above) has also shared anti-Muslim posts about “Islamic illegals on the rampage”, and ‘liked’ a comment that suggested Muslims would eat “freshly slaughtered halal infidel” at Eid.

2016 Council Candidate Yonah Saunders

Yonah Saunders, the son of the 2019 GE candidate Arnold Saunders, has shared posts suggesting that Muslims are “Banning everything” and that Muslims leaving the UK would be a good thing.

2018 Candidate Paul Ingham, Tower Hamlets

Paul Ingham has stood for the council in Tower Hamlets at least six times since 1990, most recently in 2018. Ingham has shared content from far-right figures such as Paul Joseph Watson and Tommy Robinson, and blaming Muslims for the existence of Islamophobia.

2017 Council Candidate & Former Chair Alan Booth, Durham

Former Chair of the Bishop Auckland Conservative Party Alan Booth has a long history in the Conservative Party. He frequently shares anti-Muslim posts far-right fake news sites.

2016 Council Candidate John Hill, Portsmouth

Council candidate and long-time member John Hill has frequently posted about his fear of the Muslim community, calling them a “dangerous minority” with a “mission to subjugate our society.”

2016 Council Candidate John Shoesmith, Calderdale

Calderdale member and 2016 council candidate John Shoesmith has an extreme hatred for Muslims, posting that Muslims should “go back to Pakistan or wherever you’re from […] you are not wanted here”. Most shockingly of all, he responded to a story about the murder of a Muslim with a comment that heavily implied that he wanted more Muslims to die.

2016 Council Candidate Charles Beckham, Darlington

Charles Beckham has posted and shared content that promotes conspiracy theories about Muslims and calls for their exclusion from the United Kingdom:

Party Donor Fraser Duffin

Fraser Duffin has donated at least £15,000 to Simon Hart MP over the past five years. He has also suggested that “lynch mobs in South Manchester” might take “justified retribution” against the Manchester Muslim community in the aftermath of the MEN arena bombing, and ‘liked’ a number of anti-Muslim posts targeting Sadiq Khan.

Activist Lorraine Cullen, Inverness

Lorraine Cullen is an active Conservative Party campaigner in the region, canvassing for Douglass Ross MP in the 2019 General Election and signing nomination papers for the candidate in Inverness.


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