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Don’t call fascists ‘far-right’ says Welsh Conservative MP

23 Feb 2022 4 minute read
David TC Davies speaking in Westminster Hall

A Welsh Conservative MP has said that he doesn’t think that fascists should be called “far right” because they and others on the right, like himself, have nothing in common.

Speaking in a debate on the Muslim community in Wales, Monmouth MP David TC Davies said that as someone on the “centre-right” he would never call fascists “far right”.

He was responding to Labour MP for Newport West Ruth Jones, who said that it was important that they monitor hate crime against Muslims in Wales.

Ruth Jones said: “The charity Tell MAMA, which does excellent work, reported a 40% increase in online Islamophobia last year after the far right peddled false narratives blaming British Muslims for spreading coronavirus”.

“That is why this debate is so important; the abuse is not just verbal or physical but structural, and in many ways it is entrenched in our society. As parliamentarians, we have a real responsibility to shed some light and tackle it head on, and that starts by talking openly and honestly about it.”

David TC Davies, who is the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, later responded to say that he wanted to echo the support for the Muslim community in Wales, “because they really are a very important part of our culture”.

He added: “Members have quite rightly raised the issue of the so-called far right. I never like to call those people that, because I am right-wing—centre-right—but I have nothing in common with them and nobody in the Conservative party has anything in common with the sort of fascists who we have sometimes seen harassing people because of their religion or ethnicity.

“I am sure that we all stand united in saying that such behaviour is totally and utterly unacceptable, and something that we would never ever support.”

‘Not tolerated’

David TC Davies also responded to criticism from Labour MP Afzal Khan of the Conservatives’ record on Islamaphobia.

Afzal Khan had said: “The Labour party was one of the first to adopt the definition of Islamophobia by the APPG on British Muslims. That definition has the confidence of more than 800 organisations, and has also been adopted by the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, the Scottish National party, the Green party and even, as has been said, the Scottish Conservatives, as well as the Mayor of London, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, and hundreds of councils across the country.

“All that stands in stark contrast to the Conservative party, which has repeatedly shown that it is in denial about Islamophobia through its failure to accept the definition proposed by the APPG”

David TC Davies said that the Conservative party was not Islamaphobic, and added that he wanted to congratulate his Conservative colleagues in the Senedd on their work in tackling Islamaphobia.

“I must take some issue with some of the comments that have been made today,” he said. “There is no place for Islamophobia anywhere, including in any political party, and I certainly would not want to see it being tolerated in the Conservative party.

“We can be judged to some extent by our deeds, because in the Senedd there are 16 Conservative Members out of 60—a proportion that is not high enough—and two of them are Muslim, including, of course, Natasha Asghar, who I have known for many years and who is one of my Assembly Members, as a regional Assembly Member.

“It is very important that we do not just say the right words, which we can all do very easily, but demonstrate our commitment to tackling racism and Islamophobia by making sure that we reach out to all communities and offer all communities the same opportunities.”

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