Tory MP Bob Stewart found guilty of racially aggravated public order offence

Tory MP Bob Stewart is accused of a racially aggravated public order offence after a row with Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei. Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Conservative MP Bob Stewart has been found guilty at Westminster Magistrates’ Court of a racially aggravated public order offence after telling an activist to “go back to Bahrain” during a protest in central London in December last year.

Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring fined the MP £600, with additional legal costs bringing the total to £1,435.

The MP for Beckenham in south-east London, also told Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei “you’re taking money off my country, go away!” during a row outside the Foreign Office’s Lancaster House in Westminster on December 14 last year.


Bob Stewart has been fined more than £1,400, including court costs. ITV News Correspondent Graham Stothard is at Westminster Magistrates' court

The 74-year-old had been attending an event hosted by the Bahraini Embassy when protester Mr Alwadaei shouted “Bob Stewart, for how much did you sell yourself to the Bahraini regime?”

During a heated exchange, Mr Stewart replied: “Go away, I hate you. You make a lot of fuss. Go back to Bahrain.”

In footage played during a trial at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday, he also said: “Now shut up, you stupid man.”

Paul Jarvis, prosecuting, said: “Mr Alwadaei felt upset and humiliated by what had taken place”.

He added: “He (Stewart) demonstrated racial hostility towards Mr Alwadaei by way of his comments.”

However, the prosecutor said Stewart “was not motivated by racial hostility”, merely demonstrating it.

Mr Jarvis told the court Stewart later said he “regretted” the comments and that he should have ignored the protester but denies the comments were racist.

Earlier, Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring said if Stewart was found guilty his offences were “non-custodial”.

The Metropolitan Police launched an investigation after a complaint was made by Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) activist Mr Alwadaei, who has said he is living in exile after being tortured in the Gulf state.

During his evidence, Mr Alwadaei said he was exercising his right to protest by questioning Stewart and had not intended to insult the MP.

He accused Stewart of being financed by Bahrain and of acting as a “well-known defender” of the regime, the court heard.

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei complained to police after the exchange Credit: James Manning/PA

The protester also claimed that during a trip to the country, Stewart had chanted “god save the king of Bahrain”.

Asked how he felt after their exchange last year, Mr Alwadaei said: “I feel that I was dehumanised, like I was someone who is not welcomed in the UK.”

He added: “Because of my skin colour, because of where I came from, he feels I am taking money from his country.”

Mr Alwadaei went on to say if he did return to Bahrain, he would “undoubtedly be killed and tortured”.

Parliamentary records show Stewart registered flights, accommodation and meals worth £5,349 during a four-day trip to Bahrain last November paid for by its ministry of foreign affairs.


A separate entry covered by the Bahraini government shows another trip, worth £1,245.56, to visit an air show and meet its foreign minister.

Mr Alwadaei alleged the Middle Eastern country is “corrupt” and a “human rights violator”.

Stewart, a former British Army officer, kept the Tory whip after being charged with a racially aggravated public order offence, which he denies.

He also pleaded not guilty to using threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

The one-day trial continues.