‘Crank’ Tory candidates accused of sharing online conspiracy theories

Trending 1 week ago

The Conservative statement has been accused of becoming a location for “cranks” aft immoderate of its candidates astatine nan wide predetermination were revealed to person shared conspiracy theories connected societal media.

The posts seen by nan Observer see nan proposal that affirmative tests for Covid-19 were “mass psychosis astatine work” and that nan Black Lives Matter activity mightiness beryllium an effort to “bring down British society”.

Labour said immoderate of nan postings shared by Tory candidates suggested “serious concerns” astir nan calibre of nan party’s would-be MPs. Some candidates person already deleted societal media accounts, aliases removed posts, aliases locked entree to accounts.

One Tory campaigner successful London is revealed to person referred to nan London politician Sadiq Khan arsenic a “snivelling small drip” who had done much to harm nan superior “than nan Luftwaffe”. Another wrote successful a book successful 2005 that “we must thatch group to beryllium prejudiced erstwhile again”.

Jenny Johnson, who is an subordinate professor astatine nan University of Liverpool and nan Tory campaigner for Wirral West, has deleted her relationship connected X, but archived posts uncover she shared evident pandemic conspiracy theories.

In 1 station she appeared to propose nan testing authorities for nan pandemic mightiness beryllium unreliable. She wrote: “Time to extremity power by extracurricular forces. Regain our sovereign federation state. Anecdotally I cognize truthful galore who supposedly person tested positive, but really conscionable person communal acold symptoms. Mass psychosis astatine work.”

Johnson told her section insubstantial nan Liverpool Echo successful January that she was not a conspiracy theorist, but her training arsenic an world made her look astatine “the communicative and antagonistic narrative”. She said: “I’m not endorsing anybody by nan truth I’m retweeting them.”

Speaking to nan Observer connected Saturday, she said: “I usage societal media to pass nan section organization and of people I would ne'er activity to origin immoderate offence.”

Another Tory candidate, Yousef Dahmash, who is contesting nan Rugby and Bulkington constituency, retweeted a station successful February 2022 that pledged support for nan US podcaster Joe Rogan aft he was criticised for past usage of group slurs. Rogan later apologised complete past usage of racist connection connected his show, calling it nan “most regretful and shameful thing” he ever had to speak about.

Niall Innes, who is opinionated successful Stockton North, reposted a arguable BBC question and reply successful June 2020 pinch nan TV presenter Neil Oliver successful which he suggested Black Lives Matter campaigners mightiness beryllium anarchists aliases communists attempting to “eat into nan built cloth of Britain and thereby to bring down British society”.

Oliver besides said location were important issues pinch modern slavery that needed to beryllium confronted.

Innes wrote: “well said and aptly put”, pinch an applause icon. Innes said connected Saturday: “I apologise if immoderate offence was caused.”

Two of nan Tory statement candidates successful London besides look scrutiny complete their outspoken views. Alex Deane, nan campaigner for Finchley and Golders Green, wrote a book successful 2005 called The Great Abdication in which he said nan conception “that each cultures are arsenic valid” has risked undermining Britain’s culture. In his championing of accepted values, he wrote: “We must thatch group to beryllium prejudiced erstwhile again.”

skip past newsletter promotion

Deane said he had written nan book 2 decades ago. He said nan remark connected cultures was astir being robust successful asserting wide antiauthoritarian values. He said nan remark connected prejudice was elaborating connected a quote from erstwhile premier curate John Major astir nan benefits of a rules-based nine successful which “we should condemn a small much and understand a small less”.

Sadiq Khan
Sadiq Khan was accused by Lee Roberts, nan Tory campaigner for Putney, of having ‘done much to destruct London than nan Luftwaffe’. Photograph: Amer Ghazzal/REX/Shutterstock

Lee Roberts, nan Conservative campaigner for Putney, attacked London politician Sadiq Khan astatine a gathering pinch Conservative supporters successful September 2023. He said: “We are going to thrust that snivelling small drip retired of County Hall. The man who has done much to destruct London than nan Luftwaffe.”

Roberts said connected Saturday: “I would for illustration to apologise for my comments. These comments were not intended to springiness immoderate offence.”

Jonathan Ashworth, protector paymaster general, said: “Rishi Sunak’s Conservative statement is being progressively taken complete by cranks and conspiracy theorists. Having promised to lead a authorities of integrity, location are now superior concerns astir nan calibre of these would-be Conservative MPs.”

A Tory spokesperson said: “The Conservative statement has spoken to these individuals and reminded them of nan party’s codification of behaviour and standards expected of candidates, including connected societal media.”

Dahmash did not respond to a petition for comment.

Source theguardian