The Conservatives have suspended an activist after she tweeted that a Muslim MP born in Bradford should “go back to Pakistan”.
The party said Theodora Dickinson was being investigated on Friday after targeting Labour shadow minister Naz Shah.
Ms Dickinson responded to a post showing the Bradford West MP discussing her experience of poverty, saying if “Naz Shah hates this country so much why doesn’t she go back to Pakistan?!”
Disgusting.— Miqdaad Versi (@miqdaad) June 19, 2020
In a now deleted tweet, former Conservative Party campaign manager, @TheaDickinson asks @NazShahBfd "why doesn't she go back to Pakistan"
ICYMI she also posted an Islamophobic conspiracy theory afterÂ Christchurch terrorist attack & no action was taken by the Party pic.twitter.com/L3pk9qf297
The Muslim Council of Britain, which has long-criticised the Tories’ handling of Islamophobia, described the tweet as “blatant racism”.
While Baroness Warsi, a former Conservative Party chair, said the suspension shows the Tories’ “shambolic revolving door system of dealing with racism”.
Ms Shah said: “Over the last few weeks BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) communities have been coming to terms with the racism they have faced over the years.
“In 2020 to be told to go back to Pakistan, highlights the level of racism that still exists in some quarters of society.”
Ms Dickinson, who describes herself as a political communications and social media consultant, later apologised.
“I fully recognise how offensive it was, which is why I deleted the tweet almost immediately, though of course this does not excuse posting it in the first place,” she added.
I am very sorry for my comments earlier today.— Theodora Dickinson (@TheaDickinson) June 19, 2020
I fully recognise how offensive it was, which is why I deleted the tweet almost immediately, though of course this does not excuse posting it in the first place.
I have written to Ms Shah offering an unreserved apology.
The Tories, which have launched an independent inquiry into all forms of prejudice within the party, said Ms Dickinson had been suspended.
“Theodora Dickinson has been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation,” a party spokeswoman said.
Conservative peer Lady Warsi tweeted: “The Tory suspended this week for saying Muslim MP should go back to Pakistan was someone I raised concerns about over a year ago – I was told then she was suspended.
“This is the @Conservatives shambolic revolving door system of dealing with racism.”
The Tory suspended this week for saying Muslim MP should go back to Pakistan was someone I raised concerns about over a year ago - I was told then she was suspended 🤷🏽ââï¸— Sayeeda Warsi (@SayeedaWarsi) June 19, 2020
This is the @Conservatives shambolic revolving door system of dealing with racism 🤦🏽ââï¸https://t.co/cT95LIlMJu
Muslim Council of Britain secretary general Harun Khan accused Ms Dickinson of having previously shared an Islamophobic conspiracy theory after the Christchurch terrorist attack.
“Now Ms Dickinson tells a Muslim MP ‘why doesn’t she go back to Pakistan’. Will this latest blatant racism elicit action?” he said.
“The party must reflect and consider why it chooses to ignore widespread concerns about its institutional Islamophobia – if a truly independent inquiry is not enacted with its recommendations implemented, there will be a drip-feed of these stories for a long time to come.”