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Tory MP guilty of racial abuse to stand down at next election

19 Nov 2023 3 minute read
Bob Stewart MP speaking with Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, a Bahraini torture survivor. Photo Moosa Mohammed

An MP who relinquished the Conservative whip after being convicted of racist abuse has announced he is standing down at the next election.

Bob Stewart, who has represented the London constituency of Beckenham since 2010, said he would not seek re-election in a brief statement on X, formerly Twitter, which made no reference to the recent conviction.

Earlier this month, a Government source told the PA news agency that Mr Stewart had informed Chief Whip Simon Hart that he wished to surrender the party whip until a possible appeal of his conviction is resolved.

Mr Stewart currently sits as an independent MP in the House of Commons.

Mr Stewart said on social media: “Serving Beckenham as its Member of Parliament for 13 years has been an honour and privilege.

“I am incredibly grateful to everyone who has given me this opportunity. However, it is time for a new candidate, so I will not be seeking re-election at the next election.”

The geographical boundary of the Beckenham constituency is expected to be changed at the next general election following a regular review process carried out by the Boundary Commission for England which is seeking to introduce greater uniformity in population sizes across the seats for Westminster.

A new constituency of Beckenham and Penge has been proposed.

Army officer

Mr Stewart, 74, who is also a former British Army officer and served as a United Nations commander in Bosnia, was earlier this month found guilty at London’s Westminster Magistrates’ Court of racially abusing an activist by telling him to “go back to Bahrain”.

Chief magistrate Paul Goldspring found the MP guilty of a racially aggravated public order offence, and despite mentioning Mr Stewart’s “immense positive character”, remarked: “I accept he is not racist per se, but that is not the case against him.

“Good men can do bad things.”

Mr Stewart had been attending an event hosted by the Bahraini embassy in London on December 14 last year when Sayed Ahmed asked him “for how much did you sell yourself to the Bahraini regime?”

Addressing the allegation of racist abuse, Mr Stewart has previously said: “That’s absurd, it’s totally unfair, my life has been, I don’t want to say destroyed, but I am deeply hurt at having to appear in a court like this.”

The MP said he was not a racist, and added: “‘Go back to Bahrain’ meant ‘Why don’t you go back to Bahrain and make your point there?’”

A crowdfunding page set up by Brendan Clarke-Smith, the Conservative MP for Bassetlaw, to cover Mr Stewart’s fine and any further legal costs has already raised more than £18,000.

Mr Stewart joins a growing list of Tory MPs who have announced they will not stand at the next general election, expected next year.

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10 days ago

When Smith is on your side, it’s time to go (Smith, he who meddled in Boris report and ended up being in a report, among other horrible episodes).

10 days ago

He certainly looks like a well-fed tory who would not know poverty if it smacked him in the mouth.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
10 days ago

So he’s guilty of racism but is a “jolly good bloke” of impeccable character and used to be in the army don’tcha know?”
The old boy network at work, sprinkling glitter on a poo to protect his “honour”.
What a brave and honourable man for stepping down after he got CAUGHT being a racist.
I mean by Tory standards he’s a saint. But by the standards of decent people, he’s just another elderly bigot try bluster his way out of culpability for his personal failings

10 days ago

Do all tories point like that? Andrew R. T. Davies does the same.

Last edited 10 days ago by Frank
10 days ago

The hardest job to be sacked from. If he had honour, he would go now. Nope, no system in place to really deal with him.

10 days ago

Just look at these pathetic comments below it beggars belief. It seems from the comments they all need an education can any one of them clearly tell us where this MP was being a racist. This new legal system in the UK will kill justice because of woke beliefs

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
8 days ago
Reply to  Welshman28

Given your grammar perhaps don’t criticise other people’s educations. We don’t need to tell you where he was being a racist because it’s clear in everything he said, and did, in that video of him being a racist.
What new legal system are you talking about? There is not one. He’s not being prosecuted. He’s just been caught out being a massive racist.
What are “woke beliefs”? Name some.

Steve Woods
Steve Woods
9 days ago

Good riddance.

If he’d had a shred of integrity, he wouldn’t have stood for the CONservatives in the first place.

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