Jacob Rees-Mogg’s after-dinner speech to group calling on Doreen Lawrence to ‘go home’

Conservative MP says he is ‘shocked’ by the views of the Traditional Britain Group

The prominent Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has become embroiled in a race row after he spoke at a dinner organised by an extreme right-wing group which backs the repatriation of ethnic minority Britons.

Mr Rees-Mogg spoke of his shock of learning about the views of the Traditional Britain Group which this week called for Doreen Lawrence, mother of the murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence, to leave the country.

However, it has emerged that the MP had been warned about the group by Searchlight, the anti-fascist organisation, the day before his speech and still decided to deliver it. The organisation describes itself as a “home to the disillusioned patriot”.

In a recent online post, it fiercely condemned the peerage awarded last week to Mrs Lawrence. It said: “It is a monstrous disgrace that this Lawrence woman, who is no friend of Great Britain, and who is totally without merit, should be recognised like this or in any other way. In fact she, along with millions of others, should be requested to return to their natural homelands.”

The post referred to a Tory backbencher, Nadhim Zahawi, as “a foreign Conservative Party MP”, and to the shadow Business Secretary, Chuka Umunna, who was born and raised in south London, as a Nigerian. The group’s posts have also quoted Marine Le Pen, the  leader of France’s far-right National Front, and denounced adoption by gay partners as “completely obscene”.

Mr Rees-Mogg, the MP for North East Somerset, has distanced himself from the group, although he confirmed he had been warned about their views ahead of his appearance at a London club in May. He said: “I made, in the limited time available, some investigation into these and put them to the organiser of the dinner.” He denied that the Traditional Britain Group held such views and told me that it was a smear.

“My assistant also contacted [Conservative] Central Office who had no knowledge of the group which they could give me,” he added. Mr Rees-Mogg said he was shocked by the group’s comments on repatriation and pointed out they had been after his speech.

He said: “I am shocked by the comments which I note from the Liberal Conspiracy website seem to have been made after I had addressed the dinner. I can entirely dissociate myself from the Traditional Britain Group as I have never been a member or supporter.”

Labour MP Sheila Gilmore said: “It’s shocking that a Conservative MP would associate himself with a group which has such extreme and unpleasant views, despite reportedly being warned by Searchlight. Jacob Rees-Mogg has made a serious error of judgement and must explain why he appears to have ignored Searchlight’s warning.”

She added: “Condoning views like these is not harmless fun or mild eccentricity – it is deeply offensive and shows a lack of respect and common sense. It’s yet another example of a Tory who is completely out of touch with modern Britain.”

In a statement on its website, the group said it believed “exiting the EU and halting immigration are crucial to the survival of the British nation”. Adding: “One appreciates this upsets the liberal-left but we should be permitted to entertain our own opinions, just as they are, without being smeared as ‘far-right’.

“It is clear that people across the political spectrums [sic] among the man-in-the-street are concerned about immigration.”

The statement said Mr Rees-Mogg had made an “excellent speech on a range of issues”. It added: “Only one person present asked about immigration levels etc and Mr Rees-Mogg gave an assimilationist response.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
News
people
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

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world