Tory MP surrenders whip after he’s found guilty of racially abusing activist

An Tory MP found guilty of racially abusing an activist has surrended the Conservative whip.

Beckenham MP Bob Stewart told the chief whip Simon Hart he wished to sit as an independent while he appeals against his conviction, a government source said.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats had led calls for the Prime Minister to act against the "totally unacceptable" behaviour of the 74-year-old Conservative backbencher.

Stewart was found guilty at Westminster Magistrates' Court of racially abusing an activist by telling him to "go back to Bahrain".

He also told Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei "you're taking money off my country, go away!" during a row outside the Foreign Office's Lancaster House in Westminster last December. Stewart had been attending an event hosted by the Bahraini embassy.

Stewart - who was fined £600, with additional legal costs bringing the total to £1,435 - told the court "I am not a racist" and said his "honour was at stake in front of a large number of ambassadors".

The court heard the protester had shouted: "Bob Stewart, for how much did you sell yourself to the Bahraini regime?"

Before he had the whip removed, Labour Party chairwoman Anneliese Dodds said: “This is yet another serious Conservative scandal. Rishi Sunak urgently needs to get his house in order.” Lib Dem chief whip Wendy Chamberlain had warned that failing to remove the whip would “send a dangerous message that behaviour like this is acceptable”.

Mr Stewart’s office has been contacted for comment.

The Conservative Party said it had no further updates on the situation.