Tory MP Michael Fabricant criticised for describing pro-Palestinian demonstrators as ‘primitives’

Backbencher deletes tweet after backlash from antiracism campaigners

Tim Wyatt
Monday 17 May 2021 12:06
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<p>Michael Fabricant has been a Conservative MP since 1992</p>

Michael Fabricant has been a Conservative MP since 1992

Conservative MP Michael Fabricant has been condemned for spreading “hateful racism” after he described pro-Palestine protesters in London as “primitives”.

The MP for Lichfield tweeted a video of clashes with police outside the Israeli embassy on Saturday and added the comment: “These primitives are trying to bring to London what they do in the Middle East."

The tweet immediately sparked a storm of protest, including from the anti-racism campaign Hope Not Hate.

Mr Fabricant should be suspended from the Tory Party, Hope Not Hate said, adding the backbencher was spouting “hateful racism that stirs up division”.

“The tense situation requires steady leadership from people who want to bring communities together, not hateful racism that stirs up division. The Conservatives must suspend Michael Fabricant for this disgraceful comment."”

The 70-year-old deleted the tweet after the fierce backlash on social media, but this did not mollify his critics.

The director of the thinktank British Future, Sunder Katwala, tweeted: "Anybody who realises that it is racist to hold British Jews responsible for Israeli policy should also be able recognise the racism here in Michael Fabricant’s tweet."

Speaking to the PA news agency, Mr Fabricant tried to justify his remarks by explaining that "attacks on the British police as shown in the video are disgraceful".

"It is primitive behaviour by people who preach antisemitism or racism of any kind, whether they be Jewish, Christian or Muslim.

"And the sort of antisemitism displayed by Hamas in the Middle East must not be repeated here in the UK."

The MP, whose father was a rabbi in Brighton where he grew up, has previously been accused of Islamophobia.

Following the then-chair of the Conservatives, Baroness Warsi’s, resignation during the 2014 war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, Mr Fabricant tweeted he was sad she had quit but knew she had “strong views on Muslim issues”.

He later insisted he had not intended to characterise the humanitarian crisis in Gaza as a “Muslim issue”, but was criticised again in 2018 when he tweeted an image which portrayed a giant pig blimp having sex with the Muslim Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

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