A member of the Conservative Party has been convicted of committing a racist act by telling an activist to return to Bahrain during a disagreement in the heart of London.
During a dispute outside the Foreign Office’s Lancaster House in Westminster, Bob Stewart, the Member of Parliament for Beckenham in south-east London, also stated to Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, “You are taking funds from my country, please leave!”
The 74-year-old was present at a gathering held by the Bahraini Embassy when Alwadaei exclaimed, “Bob Stewart, how much did you receive in exchange for your loyalty to the Bahraini government?”
During a heated argument, Stewart responded with: “Leave me alone, I can’t stand you. You’re causing a lot of commotion. Return to Bahrain.”
During the trial at Westminster Magistrates Court on Friday, a video from 14 December 2022 was shown in which the MP can be heard saying to Alwadaei: “Just be quiet now, you foolish man.”
The MP was determined to be responsible for a racially motivated public disturbance by Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring.
According to Goldspring, Stewart will not go to prison and will instead pay a £600 fine, in addition to legal expenses totaling £1,435.
At the trial, Stewart was questioned about his opinion on the accusations of racial discrimination and stated to the judge: “That’s ridiculous. It’s completely unjust. My life has been… I hesitate to say ruined, but I am greatly wounded by having to come to court for this.”
In 1969, the Member of Parliament, who previously served as a British Army officer in Bahrain, stated: “I am not prejudiced.” He accused me of being dishonest and accepting bribes.
I felt a great sense of dishonor in the presence of numerous ambassadors. It deeply troubled me and I found it incredibly disrespectful.
Stewart informed the court that he was unaware of the identity of Alwadaei and claimed that he used the term “hate” in response to the protester’s remarks.
When questioned about whether he accused Alwadaei of receiving funds from the UK, the Member of Parliament responded, “I assumed that he was also residing in this country and was receiving benefits from living here. I did not intend to label him as a freeloader.”
The Member of Parliament (MP) utilized the expression “my country” as he wrongly assumed that Alwadaei was from Bahrain. However, the MP acknowledged that using “this country” would have been more appropriate, according to the court proceedings.
In December of last year, the Guardian reported that Alwadaei filed a complaint with the Conservative party regarding a confrontation that occurred outside a reception held by the Bahraini embassy.
The Metropolitan police initiated a probe following a complaint by an activist from the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD). The activist claims to be in exile due to torture suffered in the Gulf state.
Regarding the incident, Alwadaei expressed, “I felt dehumanized, as if I was unwelcome in the UK. He believes that due to my skin color and nationality, I am taking money from his country.”
There are demands for the Conservative party to withdraw Stewart’s Tory whip.
Wendy Chamberlain, the chief whip for the Liberal Democrats, stated that it is long overdue for Rishi Sunak to show integrity. She believes this should begin by promptly revoking Bob Stewart’s whip. Allowing him to keep the whip sends a harmful message that such behavior is tolerated.
“Rishi Sunak’s initial year as prime minister has been overshadowed by accusations of impropriety and controversy. It is imperative for him to take decisive action and address these issues.”
The Conservatives have been contacted for comment.