A former Conservative peer has waded into the row surrounding the controversial new Tory campaign chief, Lynton Crosby, by saying she agrees the party should not court Muslim votes because they are “all on benefits”.
Last week, the Mail on Sunday quoted a source suggesting the Australian strategist had told Boris Johnson, during the mayoral election campaign, to concentrate on traditional Tory voters instead of “fucking Muslims”.
Ian Birrell, a former speechwriter for Cameron, called Crosby a “disastrous signing” for the Tories in an article for the Independent.
But this week, the MoS quoted Shreela Flather, a cross-bench peer who quit the Tories in 2008, as saying: ‘I don’t condone swearing, but Lynton is right to say it is pointless for the Conservatives to chase Muslim votes. They are all on benefits and all vote Labour.’
The Labour party launched a stinging attack on the baroness, who has made several past controversial statements on large Muslim families and benefit claims.
Michael Dugher MP, Labour Party Vice Chair, said in response: “These shocking comments are totally unacceptable, there can be no place in politics for this kind of language or for such grossly offensive and ignorant attitudes.
“Baroness Flather should immediately apologise.”
Baroness Flather, who was Britain’s first female Asian peer said in September 2011 that Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities were failing to adopt the values of British society and said they should have their benefits slashed.
In a speech the House of Lords during the second reading of the Welfare Reform Bill, she said: “The minority communities in this country, particularly the Pakistanis and the Bangladeshis, have a very large number of children and the attraction is the large number of benefits that follow the child.
“Nobody likes to accept that, nobody likes to talk about it because it is supposed to be very politically incorrect.”