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Tom Hunt condemns Islamophobia after Ipswich Tory's retweets

07:12 18 August 2022 Author :  

Ipswich Conservative MP Tom Hunt has vowed to root out Islamophobia from his local association after hearing that a Tory borough councillor had retweeted two anti-Islam posts.

Steve Flood was elected to represent the Sprites ward for the Tories in 2021 - and had previously been a councillor between 2004 and 2008.

Mr Flood's recent Twitter feed includes retweets of two posts - one saying Islam should not be allowed in the UK and another saying it is a religion that does not allow free speech.

He has now been summoned to a meeting with borough Tory group leader Ian Fisher and Ipswich Conservative Association vice-chairman Tim Buttle.

Mr Hunt said: "This issue has been brought to my attention. I've seen the two social media posts in question that have been shared by a Conservative councillor. 

"The social media posts in question contain Islamophobic views. One of the views in particular I find reprehensible.  

"I'm all for freedom of expression, but at the end of the day hate is hate and it should have no place on social media or any mainstream political party. 

"The views expressed were not published by the Conservative councillor in question. However, clearly it's completely wrong for hate towards any religious group to be amplified and shared on social media.

"I represent a large number of Muslim constituents who I work with closely, like I do with all religious groups across the town.

"Many of my Muslim constituents have spoken to me before about the Islamophobia they often have to endure and I want them to know that as their MP I feel very strongly that there is no place in politics or social media for Islamophobia.

"We need to take a strong line against all hate.

"Clearly, this is a matter for the local Conservative Association and the Conservative Group at the borough council, but I wanted to make my views clear as the local MP."

Ipswich Labour Party secretary John Cook was shocked by the retweets. He said: "I'm appalled by what I've seen on councillor Flood's twitter feed.

"There is no place on Ipswich Borough Council for this bigotry and prejudice. Ipswich Conservatives need to expel him, and bring pressure on him to resign from the council."

Mr Fisher said: "In response to being made aware of two social media posts, Cllr Steve Flood has been invited to a meeting with me and Tim Buttle where he will be expected to explain the reasons for his posts.

"We do not have trial by media so it is disappointing that Cllr Cook, the current Mayor of Ipswich, thought it best to contact the press before making a complaint directly to the council, or to myself."

We have contacted Mr Flood for comment but have not received a response.

This is the second time this year an Ipswich Conservative councillor has come under fire for social media activity - in March Gainsborough councillor Shayne Pooley was suspended by Tory group at the borough and given retraining after posting comments on Facebook justifying President Putin's invasion of Ukraine./agencies

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