This morning the Conservative Party confirmed Shaun Bailey as its candidate for London Mayor. Bailey has been caught up in a controversy for sharing a racist and Islamophobic tweet about Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
Last year, Bailey retweeted a tweet referring to Sadiq Khan as “mad mullah Khan of Londonistan” and referring to Labour as “anti-British”, to thousands of his followers.
The Conservative Party insists Bailey was unaware of the caption accompanying the image and simply retweeted the image.
Another Divisive Election Battle?
Image Credit: Shaun Bailey Twitter
There are concerns that this may lead to another Conservative London Mayor election campaign targeting Sadiq Khan’s Muslim faith.
In 2016 the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London, Zac Goldsmith, was roundly criticised for running a divisive and Islamophobic campaign.
Former Conservative cabinet minister and Conservative Party Chairman Sayeeda Warsi described Goldsmith’s campaign as “appalling”.
Mohammed Amin, chairman of the Muslim Conservative Forum, wrote in Conservative Home: “With growing intensity, Zac began to paint Khan as a closet extremist.”
“I was disgusted (I considered milder words, but decided to be frank) with the tone of his campaign and his repeated, and risible, attempts to smear Sadiq Khan.”
Last month Andrew Boff, who came second to Bailey in the bid to become the Conservative’s candidate for London Mayor, described Goldsmith’s personal attacks on Khan as a “mistaken tactic” and joined calls for an investigation into Islamophobia in the Tory party.
Bailey Claims Ignorance
— Michael Gove (@michaelgove) September 6, 2018
A spokesperson for Bailey told the Independent: “These grossly offensive words were in no way visible in the chain that was retweeted.
“Shaun was completely unaware of their existence, and as someone who has suffered racial abuse himself, there is no way on earth Shaun would ever knowingly have shared something so offensive.”
Mr Bailey, 47, is a former youth worker who became an adviser to David Cameron on crime. He has been a member of the London Assembly since May 2016.
He first stood to become an MP in the 2010 General Election, losing to Labour MP Andy Slaughter in Hammersmith, and also stood in 2017 in Lewisham West and Penge, where he came second.
Last year Bailey was labelled a ‘“token ghetto boy” by Labour MP, Emma Coad, who subsequently apologised.