Tory staffer dubs Met chief 'Islamic scholar' in invite-only WhatsApp group

ITV News has seen offensive messages from the staff of Tory MP's and ministers, which a Tory peer has described as 'racist'

WhatsApp messages in a group made up of Tory MPs' staffers described the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Mark Rowley, as a “preeminent Islamic scholar” in what has been called a “racist message” by a senior Tory peer.

The posts seen and verified by ITV News were made in a group of members of staff who work for Tory MPs, and also includes messages where individuals admit to deleting emails from constituents when they respond to the government's position on the Israel-Gaza conflict. 

The WhatsApp group is an invite-only and used to discuss work-related issues in MPs offices. 

Messages seen and verified by ITV News showcased staffers calling Sir Mark Rowley a 'preeminent Islamic scholar'. Credit: ITV News

One staffer, who is critical of the Met Police’s handling of the pro-Palestine protests in London, posted on the group criticising Sir Mark Rowley and said: "I know he must be busy as the UK's preeminent Islamic scholar, but it would be nice if he could encourage officers to enforce the law and stop antisemitic fanatics from ruining Remembrance."

He then goes on to say, he was pretty sure that his boss, who is a Tory Minister, would "endorse that general message".

The group has more than 400 members, a large number of whom work on the parliamentary estate in Westminster. 

Among the messages, there are many examples of staffers talking about the recent influx of emails they have been receiving about the situation in the Middle East and the increased workload.  

Credit: ITV News

One member of staff, who appears to be managing their MP’s inbox, asks colleagues if they’d received nasty – not abusive or threatening messages - from constituents who were responding to emails that were explaining the government’s position on Gaza.  

A staff member replies: "One or Two. I just delete as not even worth a reply. Deluded people who'll never vote for us."   

While another goes on to respond "few causes with worse advocates". 

Sayeeda Warsi, the former chairwoman of the Conservative Party, reacted to the messages, telling ITV News the deleting of messages is a “very serious allegation”.  

“It is deeply disturbing that parliamentary staff are taken it upon themselves to censor what parliamentarians are seeing. For a parliamentary democracy to function it is vital for my colleagues are fully aware of what the public, particularly their constituents are thinking about this issue on Gaza,” Baroness Warsi said.  

Sayeeda Warsi, the former chairwoman of the Conservative Party, told ITV News the deleting of messages of a 'very serious allegation'. Credit: PA

She went on to describe the messages used in reference to Sir Mark Rowley as being “racist.".

“These are continuations of the undermining process that has been started by the Home Secretary and it is clearly now filtering down to Conservative MPs and Conservative staffers, who are using racist and undermining language about someone who is responsible for policing in our capital.”   

I reached out to those who had sent the messages that we have quoted and I got a couple of responses back. 

They all claimed to have received angry and abusive emails in the last few weeks and said it hadn’t been a particularly pleasant time to work.  

One person said they were responding to personal abuse of staff members, which they found particularly frustrating because they, as MPs staffers, have no influence over government policy. 

While another said they had received some of the nastiest emails they’d seen in more than 10 years in the job.

CCHQ declined to comment on this and said they are not involved in the hiring, paying or management of MPs staff. 

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