EU referendum: Baroness Warsi subjected to Islamophobic abuse by Brexit supporters after defecting

The Conservative peer said the 'hate and xenophobia' of Leave had gone 'too far'

Jon Stone
Monday 20 June 2016 11:08 BST
Baroness Warsi switched from Leave to Remain
Baroness Warsi switched from Leave to Remain (Reuters)

A Conservative peer has been subjected to Islamophobic abuse by Brexit supporters after announcing she was switching sides from Leave to Remain.

Baroness Warsi previously backed Leave but this morning said that the “hate and xenophobia” of the Leave campaign had gone “too far”.

She told the Times newspaper she realised she could not support the campaign after seeing a Ukip poster portraying Syrian refugees in a negative light.

After her decision became known she was however immediately subjected to vicious attacks on social media.

The peer, who is a Muslim, was sent messages about “grooming gangs” as well as one referring to her as a “jihadist Trojan horse”.

She was also referred to as a “Cameron stooge” with multiple suggestions she would receive some kind of payment for backing Remain.

Another social media user claimed she had hired Muslim “fundamentalist” staff, while others said she was “full of s**t”.

One message read: “typical MUSLIM ! Lie ,cheat,lie ,cheat ,lie ,good job your in a country like the UK otherwise you'd be stoned by now FACT”. [sic]

The Conservative, a former Cabinet minister, highlighted the abuse by posting screenshots of it from her account.

“The vile reaction of people unhappy with my decision to leave Leave,” she said. “Politics of hate must stop.”

What to believe about the EU referendum

Other messages sent to the Baroness include:

• "How f=ckin- dare you call Brexiters small minded islanders,low life s**t."

• "Your the token tory and now Cameron is using you.You carry no weight and with your little stunt people have seen through it"

• "Typical racist comments by warsi,no Muslim should be allowed into our democratic system until they denounce the cult ISLAM"

• "You are just another dishonest ( oh i forgot i had an apartment) politician desperate to stay on the gravy train TRAITOR"

Her defection follows that of Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston who said she could not continue to campaign for the Leave campaign because it was making false claims about the NHS.

Ms Wollaston also received a similarly violent reaction when she changed sides, claim claims she was a “plant” in the Leave campaign who had always intended to switch sides.

The abuse of the Baroness comes amid calls for the tone of the campaign to improve after the killing of Labour MP Jo Cox.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said on Saturday that the EU referendum campaign had become “poisonous” and that “we should all reflect on the way the referendum campaign has been conducted”.

Ms Cox’s attacker was said by eyewitnesses to have shouted “Britain first, keep Britain independent”, and “Britain always comes first, this is for Britain”, according to court filings.

The man charged with her murder was heard to say “I’m a political activist” by police as they arrested him, according to police.

The European Union referendum takes place on 23 June. The deadline to register to vote has already passed. The latest suggest Remain regaining the lead after a short stint ahead for the Leave campaign.

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