The governing Conservative Party has been urged to cut ties with Turning Point UK, a British offshoot of a US right-wing pressure group, over the organization’s support for an anti-Muslim pastor as well as other controversies, The Guardian reported on Monday.
Several senior Conservatives have ties to TPUK, including the party’s Deputy Chairman Lee Anderson, former Home Secretary Priti Patel
, and former leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg.
The group insists it has no formal links to the Conservative Party, despite MP Marco Longhi serving as its honorary president.
TPUK has faced criticism over the views of several of its speakers, including Pastor Rikki Doolan, who has said public buildings across the UK should not allow Islamic prayers to take place during Ramadan.
Anneliese Dodds, chairwoman of the main opposition Labour Party, said: “It’s extremely concerning to see senior Conservatives associating themselves with what looks to most people an awful lot like a far-right group.”
Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran said: “As a Liberal, it is deeply concerning that a member of parliament from any party is associating with a group that promotes harmful and regressive ideas about women and minority groups.
“I urge Marco Longhi to remove himself from this position and take action to ensure that Turning Point’s divisive and dangerous rhetoric is not given a platform in our society.”
In response to the criticism, a TPUK spokesperson highlighted the group’s “multiple Muslim members,” adding that it has “strived to build bridges between Christian and Islamic communities in the UK.”
They said: “Since Turning Point UK launched in 2019 we have had hundreds of external speakers and video contributors — including people we disagree with 99 percent of the time but agree with on one issue. We certainly do not police people’s social media.”