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Mike Gapes: He seems a very confused – but excitable – individual.

Former Labour Parliamentarian turned Change UK MP Mike Gapes should have kept his fingers away from the keyboard when a fellow member of the new party – and European Parliament candidate – was accused of Islamophobia.

Nora Mulready was accused of conflating Islam with terrorism, suggesting it was a “fallacy that Islamism is nothing to do with Islam” and that radical Islamism could be “Koranically justified”.

Both the Muslim Council of Britain and anti-racism reporting service Tell Mama condemned the candidate.

But Mr Gapes made it clear that he supported Ms Mulready, first by retweeting a supportive message by The Independent Group (the former name of Change UK) London:

This attracted the attention of Muslim Twitter user – and friend of This Site – Aleesha. Her criticism provoked Mr Gapes to enter the fray directly:

Note that he seemed to be saying the exact opposite of Ms Mulready, who had apparently claimed that Islamism (the political ideology) and Islam (the religion) were the same.

She was having none of it. By now, her supporters were starting to react too:

Here’s his response:

And then he blocked her:

It was too late by now, though – Mr Gapes was already attracting adverse comments on his own Twitter feed. He blocked these people too:

He summed up the clash as follows:

And here’s Aleesha’s take on it:

What should we make of it?

Mr Gapes left Labour in February, claiming that the party was now considered racist and anti-Semitic. But here he is seen happily defending someone accused of Islamophobia, apparently by inverting one of her comments to mean the opposite of what he said. And when a Muslim took issue with him, he told her to “trot off”.

At best this is hypocritical; at worst racist. It wouldn’t be the first racism to come out of Change UK either – would it, Angela Smith?


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