LONDON— A Conservative MP who is accused of sending an Islamophobic tweet about London Mayor Sadiq Khan, has been pictured with an apartheid era South African flag on his mantelpiece.
Michael Fabricant was accused of Islamophobia on Friday morning after he tweeted an image of Sadiq Khan, who is a practicing Muslim, being mounted by a pig in an apparent response to Khan allowing a balloon to be flown in London depicting the president as a baby in a nappy.
The MP subsequently deleted the image, claiming he had not realised the image was about Khan. However, a subsequent image posted by the Channel Four News Fact Check website shows Fabricant with an Apartheid era South Africa flag on his mantelpiece.
In response, Labour MP Wes Streeting wrote to Conservative whips, saying “[A] failure to act over the case of Michael Fabricant MP will only serve to underline concerns expressed by a growing number of individuals and organisations that the Conservative Party has a problem with recognising and tackling Islamophobia within it's ranks”.
Asked by Business Insider why he had the flag on his mantelpiece, Fabricant suggested that it was related to work he did for the South African state broadcaster.
“I did a radio contract years ago with the SABC,” Fabricant told BI.
“I also have a communist era USSR hammer and sickle flag on the same mantelpiece because I also did work with Radio Moscow.
He added: “They are just flags from some of the countries where my company had clients back in the 1980s.”
In a statement posted on Twitter, Fabricant claimed that he had “accidentally” tweeted what he now describes as a “vile” picture of Khan.
Labour called for the Prime Minister to take immediate action against him.
“The Prime Minister is clearly too weak to stand up to Donald Trump's vile comments, but she should have a bit more nerve when it comes to one of her own MPs,” Dawn Butler MP, Labour's Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, said.
“Yesterday, Michael Fabricant was called out for tweeting a deeply offensive image about Sadiq Khan, and today he's been caught with the flag of Apartheid South Africa on his mantelpiece.
“Theresa May should take action immediately.”
Allegations of increased Islamophobia within the Conservative Party come after Baroness Sayeeda Warsi's interview with Business Insider, who said that islamophobia “is very widespread [in the Conservative party]. It exists right from the grassroots, all the way up to the top”.