House of Commons officials are set for a formal complaint over the appearance of the controversial activist Tapan Ghosh.
By Greg Heffer, Political Reporter
A Government-backed group tackling Islamophobia are demanding a formal investigation after an “anti-Muslim extremist” attended two events in Parliament.
TellMAMA, who record incidents of anti-Muslim hate crime, will submit a complaint to House of Commons officials over the appearance of Tapan Ghosh at a meeting and a reception last week.
Mr Ghosh describes himself on Twitter as an “uncompromising Hindu activist” who is “determined to fight against Islamic aggression and expansion”.
He has also shared pictures of himself with former English Defence League leader Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon, known as Tommy Robinson.
Anti-racism campaigners Hope Not Hate have also attracted thousands of signatures to their petition condemning those politicians who shared a platform with Mr Ghosh.
Tory MP Bob Blackman hosted Mr Ghosh in his role as chair of the all-party parliamentary group for British Hindus.
Labour MP Naz Shah raised a point of order in the House of Commons on Thursday to criticise Mr Ghosh’s attendance at the two events.
She told MPs: “Mr Ghosh holds abhorrent views, is on record for calling upon the United Nations to control the birth rate of Muslims, praising the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Burma and also said Muslims should be forced to leave their religion if they come to a western country.
“It seems incredible to me that any member would think it would be acceptable to host a meeting with this individual, let alone invite him to our House of Commons.”
Responding, Mr Blackman said: “Let me be clear, I did not invite Tapan Ghosh to this House of Commons.
“I hosted, in my capacity as chairman of the all-party parliamentary group for British Hindus, two functions last Wednesday [18 October], at which Tapan Ghosh attended.”
He added Mr Ghosh was invited by the National Council of Hindu Temples to attend the discussion event and “present evidence of physical attacks, rapes and false marriages and false conversions that have taken place in west Bengal and other places”.
“It was only in that capacity as presenting that evidence that that individual was invited to this House,” Mr Blackman said.
“He made no abhorrent remarks at the meeting, and I am quite clear that both myself and the National Council of Hindu Temples do not agree with his views that have previously stated, do not accept them, we do not endorse them in any shape or form.”
Mr Blackman told Sky News he was unaware of Mr Ghosh’s past comments prior to the event and would not have been able to prevent his appearance had he wished to.
A Parliamentary spokesperson told Sky News: “When organising meetings and events members may invite guests of their choice to attend and it is not for the House authorities to influence this.
“It is not compulsory for a member to disclose an invite list to the House in advance of a meeting.
“The appropriate use of committee and meeting rooms on the Parliamentary Estate and the expected conduct of members is outlined in the Code of Conduct.
“Complaints that members have breached the rules can be made to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards who may investigate accordingly. ”
Home Secretary Amber Rudd was among Cabinet ministers in attendance at the Diwali event, where she addressed guests.
A Home Office spokesman said: “The Home Secretary fundamentally disagrees with Mr Ghosh’s views on Islam.
“The Home Secretary accepted an invitation from the Hindu Forum of Britain to attend an event in Parliament last week to celebrate Diwali.”She did not speak to Mr Ghosh and was not present when he spoke.”