A former Liberal Democrat council candidate is under investigation by police after Political Scrapbook exposed a series of vicious Islamophobic comments on his Facebook page. The probe into the so-called “Redcar racist”, Dave Stones, comes after a concerted effort by Nick Clegg’s office and party HQ to ignore the issue.
Scrapbook revealed Mr Stones’ comments last month, when he was campaigning in a by-election for Redcar and Cleveland council — previously safe Liberal Democrat seat which he then lost to Labour. He had posted comments calling for a “pork restaurant” and “topless bar” should be built next to a mosque, as well as smears suggesting Muslims objected to the sale of remembrance poppies.
The scandal was exacerbated by the party’s attitude towards it, with accusations of a cover-up as senior party leaders refused to act by suspending Stones. Neither local MP Ian Swales, Nick Clegg or party HQ would responded to questions, despite a leaked email showing they were aware of the remarks.
“Liberal Democrat HQ all the way to Nick Clegg’s office and key figures like the President and Chief Whip are aware of this and we are carrying on with the by-election.”
So to paraphrase Sayeeda Warsi: is Islamophobia acceptable at Nick Clegg’s dinner table?