The Conservatives may be going through a process of ‘re-UKIPification’ amid accusations of Islamophobia, says Baroness Warsi.
Fourteen members of the party have been suspended after expressing racist or Islamophobic comments on social media, adding pressure to prime minister May’s current position.
The Independent reports that comments found on a Facebook group deemed ‘pro-Jacob Rees-Mogg’, included members of the Tories urging the government to “get rid of all mosques” and for Muslims to be “turfed out of public office”.
Mrs Warsi, former party chairwoman and campaigner of press regulation and accountability, has accused Mrs May of not listening and failing to acknowledge when there is a problem.
She told the BBC: “If my party’s going through a process of ‘re-UKIPification’ of itself, then it’s my job to stand within that party and fight to bring it back to the centre ground.”
The suspensions of Tory MP’s were announced after Mrs Warsi responded to comments of racism in the party and May’s failing “to tackle the problem head-on”.
She condemned May further, adding the situation is “symptomatic” of the prime minister’s wider leadership – hinting at Brexit negotiations.
The recent spikes in hate crime are said to have a direct link with the EU referendum campaign, where Turks and migrants were intensely focused on in the government’s hope to end freedom of movement.
Between 2015/16 and 2016/17, the number of race-hate crimes increased by 27 per cent, whilst over the same period, religious hate crime rose by 35 per cent.
However, Baroness Warsi warned of the “rot” of anti-Muslim sentiment in the party and the press for years, being a predominant member of the ‘Hacked Off Campaign’ established after the News of The World hacking scandal and subsequent Leveson Inquiry.
In 2015, she slammed Tory member Peter Lamb for Islamophobic tweets stating, “Islam like alcoholism” and “the first step to recovery is admit you have a problem.”
Speaking as the first female Muslim to attend Cabinet, she told PoliticsHome that the party gave Mr Lamb a “slap on the wrist”.
“It is appalling that a man suspended for Islamophobic comments just two years ago has been re-admitted and allowed to stand as a candidate.
She added: “…This rot is institutional and it’s why I have been urging the prime minister and others to hold an independent inquiry,”.
Although not beneficial for the Conservatives, the sacking of 14 of its MP’s, is likely to divert some attention from the supposed anti-Semitism in the Labour party.