Baroness Warsi resigns: Twitter backlash as Tory MP Michael Fabricant accused of suggesting Gaza is ‘a Muslim issue’

The former party whip insisted David Cameron was ‘right on Gaza’

The Conservative MP Michael Fabricant has been criticised after appearing to suggest that Baroness Warsi’s resignation over the conflict in Gaza was a “Muslim issue”.

Lady Warsi, a senior Foreign Office minister as well as being minister for faith and communities, resigned today because of the Government’s “morally indefensible” approach to the Israeli-Palestinian fighting.

The former Tory chair became the UK’s first female Muslim cabinet minister when Mr Cameron took office in 2010 – but as recently as this Saturday hit out at those who label her based on religion when she discusses foreign affairs.

She tweeted: “If I have a view on the economy I’m a Tory, on the NHS I’m a Tory but on foreign policy it’s because I’m Muslim!”

Giving his response to Lady Warsi’s resignation on Twitter this morning, Mr Fabricant wrote: “Sad @SayeedaWarsi has gone. I was her whip when Party Chairman & know she has v strong views on Muslim issues. But DC [David Cameron] is right on Gaza.”

Read more:
Baroness Warsi resigns from Government over Gaza conflict
Baroness Warsi's resignation letter in full
Israeli troops 'withdraw from Gaza' as 72-hour ceasefire begins

The Tory MP’s reaction provoked an almost immediate backlash online, with many criticising the apparent suggestion that Gaza is among the “Muslim issues” on which Lady Warsi “has v strong views”.

Martin Lennon responded: “Wow. @Mike_Fabricant just described #Gaza as a ‘Muslim issue’. So we should only care about dead children if they're Christian? Sickening.”

Shelina Janmohamed wrote: “This is not a ‘Muslim issue’. This is a matter of human conscience for everyone.”

Baroness Warsi resigned over David Cameron's 'morally indefensible' position on Gaza Baroness Warsi resigned over David Cameron's 'morally indefensible' position on Gaza Gary Spedding said: “Sounds to me as though you're trying to suggest that Gaza is a 'Muslim issue' and that's why [Lady Warsi] resigned.”

As the row escalated, Ms Janmohamed said it showed Mr Fabricant was “out of touch with human conscience, popular opinion and the facts”.

The MP later responded to the criticism on Twitter, saying: “Gaza is certainly NOT a ‘Muslim issue’. It is indeed a humanitarian issue.” To those who interpreted his original post differently, he said: “Suggest u reread [sic].”

And speaking to The Independent, the Mr Fabricant said: “It is unfortunate that people chose to conflate two separate issues in my tweet: the Gaza conflict and my knowledge of Sayeeda’s interest in Muslim matters.

“Sayeeda’s decision to resign over Gaza is unfortunate, I have huge regard for her talents, and know that it was because of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza that prompted her to do so.

“But in the same 140-character tweet, I also said I believe the Prime Minister’s approach is right.  Despite the huge death toll, the monopoly of virtue and evil is not held by any one side and Hamas has much to answer for in their attacks against Israel before the current crisis began, their use of civilians as a human shield, and their refusal to accept the very existence of the State of Israel.”

The conflict in Gaza has now seen more than 1,800 Palestinians killed, many of them civilians, while 64 soldiers and three civilians have died on the Israeli side.

Explaining her resignation over the conflict, Lady Warsi wrote to the Prime Minister: “My view has been that our policy in relation to the Middle East peace process generally but more recently our approach and language during the current crisis in Gaza is morally indefensible, is not in Britain's national interest and will have a long-term detrimental impact on our reputation internationally and domestically.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Legendary blues and rock singer Joe Cocker has died of lung cancer, his management team as confirmed. He was 70
people70-year-old was most famous for 'You are So Beautiful'
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballLatest score and Twitter updates
Arts and Entertainment
David Hasselhof in Peter Pan
The US stars who've taken to UK panto, from Hasselhoff to Hall
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
Approaching sale shopping in a smart way means that you’ll get the most out of your money
life + styleSales shopping tips and tricks from the experts
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
Life and Style
A still from a scene cut from The Interview showing North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's death.
tech
Environment
Sir David Attenborough
environment... as well as a plant and a spider
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Regulatory / Compliance / Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - 12 Month Fixed Term - Shrewsbury

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: World Wide PLC Service Engineer

£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...

Day In a Page

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'