Bob Stewart MP to stand down after racial abuse conviction

Conservative Bob Stewart has announced he will step down as MP for Beckenham after being convicted of a racially aggravated public order offence.

Mr Stewart, who has represented the south-east London constituency since 2010, relinquished the party whip after his conviction.

He currently sits as an independent and will not seek re-election.

Making the announcement on X, formerly Twitter, he said it was "an honour and a privilege" to serve in the role.

The 74-year-old said: "I am incredibly grateful to everyone who has given me this opportunity. However, it is time for a new candidate, so I will not be seeking re-election at the next election."

Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei outside Westminster Magistrates' Court in central London
Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei is director of advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy

Last month, Westminster Magistrates' Court heard Mr Stewart had been attending an event hosted by the Bahraini Embassy when Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei shouted: "Bob Stewart, for how much did you sell yourself to the Bahraini regime?"

The MP, who was stationed in Bahrain as an Army officer in the 1960s, told the campaigner to "get stuffed" and added: "Bahrain's a great place. End of."

Mr Alwadaei - the director of advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy - challenged Stewart on his connections with the country, asking whether he had accepted any money from the Bahraini government.

Mr Stewart replied: "Go away, I hate you. You make a lot of fuss. Go back to Bahrain."

The confrontation took place outside the Foreign Office's Lancaster House in Westminster and the MP was ordered to pay legal costs of £835, on top of a £600 fine.

The BBC understands Mr Stewart is considering appealing against the conviction.

A crowdfunding page set up by Conservative MP for Bassetlaw Brendan Clarke-Smith to cover Mr Stewart's fine and any further legal costs has so far raised more than £18,000.

The Beckenham constituency is expected to be changed at the next general election, following a regular review process.

The Boundary Commission for England has proposed a new constituency of Beckenham and Penge.

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