The Conservatives have defended an MP who appeared on an allegedly antisemitic radio programme linked to Holocaust deniers, claiming he was “not aware of the history of this show”.
Jewish community leaders called for the party to take “immediate action” against Sir Desmond Swayne this week, over his appearance on anti-lockdown ‘Richie Allen Show’, which has given a platform to conspiracy theorists and antisemites in the past.
Hope Not Hate raised the alarm on Thursday, saying in “November 2020 Swayne was a guest on Britain’s leading antisemitic conspiracy theory show, The Richie Allen Show. Allen opened the show describing Swayne as “pretty much a lone voice in Parliament” due to his anti-lockdown stance.”
The anti-racism group cite numerous figures who have appeared on the programme, including Holocaust denier Alison Chabloz. The show’s host reportedly called her a “remarkable woman, extraordinary woman”, and labelled her song mocking the Holocaust “satirical and very funny”.
Approached for comment, Sir Desmond Swayne, MP for New Forest West, told Jewish News:“Have I ever expressed an antisemitic opinion ? No. Have I ever cast even the slightest doubt on the Holocaust? No. Have I ever given comfort to antisemites? I bloody well hope not. Was I aware that a radio show on which I gave an interview about Covid-19 had previously hosted expressed antisemitic opinions. Certainly not. Would I have done so, had I known? Certainly not. If any offence was given as a consequence, I am mortified.”
A Conservative spokesperson told Jewish News: “Desmond Swayne has explained that he was not aware of the history of this show and would never have appeared on it had he been.”
Jewish groups urged the party to take action, with he Community Security saying: “It is scandalous that any MP would appear on this notorious radio show that has supported Holocaust deniers, promoted conspiracies about British Jews and is closely connected to conspiracy theorist David Icke. The Conservative Party needs to deal with this as a matter of urgency.”
The Jewish Labour Movement said the Tories “must take immediate action”, saying the show is “filled with conspiracy theories, Holocaust deniers and dog whistle antisemitism”.
The Campaign Against Antisemitism echoed concerns, calling his appearance “appalling” and branding the show a “magnet for antisemites and conspiracy theorists.”
“No MP should be seen or heard cavorting with the far-right”.
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