Two former Cabinet ministers have reportedly spoken at meetings of a right-wing Conservative fringe club, whose newsletter makes “vile” comments about immigration, women and gay marriage.
Owen Paterson, the former Environment Secretary seen by some as a potential Tory leader, and Liam Fox, former Defence Secretary, spoke to the London Swinton Circle, which was set up by supporters of Enoch Powell in the 1960s, according to The Guardian.
An article in the group’s newsletter claimed in May 2012 that “without a husband a woman is but a sexual object to be shared around”.
Another piece in August this year said: “Rape had became a business for the immigrants – something to think about next time you hear a politician extolling the benefits of an immigrant-based economy.”
An article written in February suggested sending some British people to Africa, comparing this to ex-slaves who were sent from the UK to Sierra Leone in 1787.
“Whilst only a few blacks were actually transported, the episode serves as a precedent. As the principle of the mass movement of people is accepted by all the mainstream parties, then would it not be difficult to argue against the mass movement of people from Britain to say some part of Africa?” it said.
Another piece from this year suggested that an earthquake in New Zealand might have been a warning against gay marriage.
Sheila Gilmore, a Labour MP, told The Guardian that Mr Paterson and Dr Fox should explain why they were dealing with a group that was “pushing such vile views”.
“These Conservative MPs must immediately explain their actions and their associations with this group and the Conservative Party should explain why it is content for this association to continue,” she said.
In a statement, Dr Fox’s office: “Dr Fox was not aware of any of the views that you mention.
“He accepts a wide range of speaking engagements and is willing to make the Conservative case to many different groups who may not agree with Conservative policy. This is part of the democratic process.”
Allan Robertson, an organiser with the London Swinton Circle, which is distinct from another group called the Swinton Circle, said that the meetings were held on the basis that the proceedings were private.
He said the group did not believe that black people could not be British and did not advocate sending anyone to Africa.
Mr Robertson added: “We have too much immigration in the last 15 years and it has become very difficult for the country to sustain. If the Conservatives come back to power next year, they will be able to do more.”Reuse content