Immigration Minister, Caroline Nokes MP, is facing more controversy today as her former Election Agent and Association Chairman, Ian Hibberd, has been suspended from the Tory Party for a racist slur on Twitter.
Ian Hibberd, a member of the Mason’s, had previously been Caroline Nokes Election Agent and Association Chairman. Ian Hibberd, a long standing local Councillor, has also been the Mayor of Test Valley and Romsey.
This follows the Immigration Minister’s own comments about Scotland and Northern Ireland which many felt were disrespectful and ignorant.
In March 2018 Caroline Nokes MP caused outrage after suggesting the Scottish parliament had no more significance than an English county council. Conservative MP Caroline Nokes was appearing in front of the Scottish Affairs Committee when she was asked whether powers over immigration might be better devolved to Scotland. Responding to Committee Chair Pete Wishart, Nokes said: “I wouldn’t grant any powers to the Scottish Government that I wouldn’t grant to Lincolnshire county council.”
More recently, the Immigration Minister took part in a car-crash Westminster Northern Ireland Affairs Committee where she admitted not being familiar with the Good Friday Agreement and bizarrely gave the excuse that 20 years ago she was “probably giving birth” which was why she was not familiar with the issue!
View the Caroline Nokes’s “giving birth” excuse for not reading the Good Friday Agreement
ROMSEY ADVERTISER FRIDAY 1ST JUNE 2018
A FORMER mayor has been suspended by the Conservative Party after posting a racial slur on the internet.
Cllr Ian Hibberd has apologised after posting the “ridiculous” remark on Facebook. Up until a few weeks ago, the 68-year-old had been mayor of Romsey, and was the mayor of Test Valley between 2009 and 2010.
Now suspended from the Romsey and Southampton North Conservative Association, it comes amid calls from the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) for an independent inquiry into allegations of Islamophobia within the national Conservative Party.
The comment came in response to a photo posted on Facebook by Wellow parish councillor Harmeet Singh Brar, during his current trip to India.
The racist comment, which was offensive to Mr Brar’s heritage, is not appropriate to print in a family newspaper.
Mr Brar said he wanted Hibberd to be kicked out of the party for the “ridiculous” slur that harked back to the 1970s. The Wellow councillor resigned from his position in the Conservative Association and joined the Liberal Democrats earlier this year.
He said: “This is exactly why I left the party. I can’t speak nationally in any way, but the Romsey and Southampton North Association has this racism issue.
“It’s ridiculous, I saw the comment, and I was speechless. What on earth? Are we back in the 1970s?”
Mr Brar said he wants Hibberd fired from the party.
“I don’t think the actions taken are strong enough, they should be going far further and removing him from the party. When there is proof, there should be an absolute zero tolerance to racism.”
Cllr Hibberd, from Lee, near Romsey, posted an apology on social media, but declined to comment further.
He said: “I’m truly sorry that I used an inappropriate term in a conversation with Mr Brar on social media. I additionally recognise my behaviour has fallen short of that of a Conservative representative and member, and that which I would expect from myself. I have therefore suspended myself from Test Valley Conservative Group, and the RSNCA, and referred myself to both the Conservative Party and Test Valley’s monitoring officer.”
Deputy chair political of the RSNCA, and deputy leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Nick Adams-King, said the phrase was “abhorrent” and “had absolutely no place”.
He also refused calls from Mr Brar to instantly take matters further, after Mr Brar was suspended earlier this year for alleged comments about another party’s members being anti-Semitic.
He added: “It is so disappointing to hear that this remark was made. We do not tolerate any form of racism.
“I understand that Mr Brar wants us to go further, but we are taking the same steps as we did with him when he acted in a similar way earlier this year.”
It comes as the MCB criticises the national Conservative Party in an open letter, saying there were “more than weekly incidents” of Islamophobia within the party.
The letter, written by the secretary general of the MCB, Harun Khan, said: “Just last month, there were more than weekly occurences of Islamophobia from candidates and representatives of the Conservative party.”
In response to Cllr Hibberd’s remarks, a Conservative Party spokesperson said: “Ian Hibberd has been suspended and an investigation is underway.”