12 July 2020
MCB Calls for Conservatives to Finally Take Decisive Action Against Bob Blackman Mp Following the 6th Serious Incident Linking Him to Islamophobia
The Muslim Council of Britain has called on the Conservative Party to take clear action against Bob Blackman, MP for Harrow East, after he has been found once again to be linked to Islamophobia. Evidence has emerged showing Blackman to be on a programme with notorious promoter of Islamophobic and far-right hate, Katie Hopkins, who was only recently banned from Twitter. David Vance, who has similarly been accused of promoting Islamophobia, was also on the panel.
This event took place in 2019, and though Blackman was not able to attend in person footage has emerged of his video contribution for the event, showing he does not deem it to be inappropriate to be sharing a platform with such divisive figures.
Blackman was also included in the MCB’s dossier of evidence of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party, submitted to the Equality and Human Rights Commission in May 2019 and again in March 2020, but has not faced any criticism or repercussions for his behaviour. Not only has Blackman retweeted the former leader of the English Defence League, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (popularly known as Tommy Robinson) and then retweeted accounts defending him even though they had a history of hurling abuse at Muslims, but has also been a member of a private Facebook group in which racist and Islamophobic comments are rife, and has shared a fake news story feeding into Islamophobic tropes.
He has also hosted anti-Muslim extremist in the House of Commons, Tapan Ghosh. Ghosh is known for having called on the UN to “control the Muslim birth rate world over” and propagating Islamophobic fake stories, playing on tensions between Hindus and Muslims in India.
A spokesperson for the MCB said:
“Bob Blackman has been found have been a virtual panellist alongside well-known Islamophobes like Katie Hopkins and David Vance, individuals who regularly spout hate against Muslims.
“This in and of itself is totally unacceptable. This merits immediate disciplinary action by the Conservative Party.
“However, Blackman also has a history: he previously retweeted posts by the former leader of the EDL, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, shared Islamophobic stories on Facebook and was part of closed Facebook groups which have been found to be full of Islamophobic and racist content. He even hosted the anti-Muslim extremist Tapan Ghosh in Parliament, despite him having called for the UN to control the birthrate of Muslims across the world.
“If the Conservative Party do not request a resignation, it will provide yet further evidence that claims of taking the issue of racism seriously, are nothing more than meaningless words.”
Bob Blackman gave a statement to The Independent in which he claimed he “was not informed” about the other panellists and failing to apologise for this, or for any of his actions pandering to the far-right in the past.
Responding to this, a spokesperson for the MCB said:
“His name was alongside that of Katie Hopkins and David Vance in the public conference agenda. He had the opportunity to make a public statement at the time when he apparently found out but did not do so.
“Even now, when given yet another opportunity, he has not apologised for his actions.
“This is unacceptable. We await the Conservative Party’s response.”
Picture credit: Richard Townshend for the House of Commons