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  1. ITV Report

Gloucester school suspends deputy head following Tory leadership TV debate appearance

Imam Abdullah Patel appeared on a televised debate between the Conservative leadership candidates. Credit: BBC

A deputy headteacher who questioned the Conservative leadership hopefuls during a televised debate has been suspended after offensive social media posts emerged.

Imam Abdullah Patel, who is deputy head at the independent Al-Ashraf Primary School in Gloucester, appeared during last night’s leadership debate on BBC One.

He asked the candidates - which included Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt and Rory Stewart - about the Islamophobic rhetoric faced by members of the Muslim community, and whether they agreed if “words had consequences”.

However, shortly after the debate, old tweets attributed to Mr Patel which appeared to promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories were unearthed.

In a statement on the primary school’s website, the chair of Al-Madani Educational Trust - which runs the school - said Mr Patel had been “suspended from all school duties”.

Following some of the comments attributed to Mr Patel in the media this morning, the Trust has decided to suspend him from all school duties with immediate effect until a full investigation is carried out.

The 'school' and 'Trust' do not share the views attributed to him.

– Yakub Patel, Chair of Al-Madani Educational Trust

Mr Patel’s old tweets were published on Twitter by Guido Fawkes, a political blog, shortly after the debate had finished.

The BBC, in a statement, said they had vetted all of the guests’ social media profiles prior to the debate - but claimed Mr Patel had deactivated the account he had used to send the offensive tweets.

The corporation said he then reactivated the account following the debate.

Following the debate, one individual reactivated a public twitter account he had previously deactivated, whose tweets were not visible during our research period.

– BBC

Al-Ashraf Primary School was rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted in November 2017.

An additional inspection at the school in December last year warned it was still not meeting all of the independent school standards.