POLITICS

Jacob Rees-Mogg, Tory MP, Says He Is 'Shocked' By Racist Postings From Group He Addressed

08/08/2013 12:39 BST | Updated 08/08/2013 14:54 BST
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LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 03: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Jacob Rees-Mogg visits the new Bagpuss Pop-up Shop at Whitelys Shopping Centre on November 3, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Ben Pruchnie/Getty Images)

A Conservative MP says he is "shocked" after learning of the extreme views of a right-wing group for whom he was a guest of honour.

Jacob Rees-Mogg addressed a Traditional Britain dinner earlier this year. But after a string of offensive Facebook postings emerged, he said he "entirely disassociated" himself from the Tory group.

It comes after an investigation by the Liberal Conspiracy blog, which found internet posts calling for Doreen Lawrence, who was recently admitted to the House of Lords, to leave the country.

Labour's Shadow Business Secretary, Chuka Umunna, was referred to as a 'Nigerian', Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi as 'foreign' and a win for the French Front National was reportedly described as 'excellent'.

Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom was dubbed a "legend" for his "bongo bongo land" comments on foreign aid.

Traditional Britain said it was "disappointed" Rees-Mogg had been "frightened by these media smears" and admitted some of its Facebook posts were "provocative".

traditional britain

Rees-Mogg said: "I addressed the annual dinner of the Traditional Britain Group in May.

"This was one of dozens of engagements for a variety of Conservative groups I have carried out this year.

"About a day before I addressed them I received a message warning me of their right wing connections. I made, in the limited time available, some investigation into these and put them to the organiser of the dinner.

"He denied that the Traditional Britain Group held such views and told me that it was a smear. My assistant also contacted Central Office who had no knowledge of the group which they could give me.

"I am shocked by the comments made by members of the Traditional Britain Group which I note from the Liberal Conspiracy website seem to have been made after I had addressed the dinner.

"I can entirely disassociate myself with the Traditional Britain Group as I have never been a member or supporter."

This is how Traditional Britain introduces itself on its website:

The British nation, its institutions, peoples, traditions, and history has been undermined and attacked repeatedly over the last fifty years by those who teach in our schools and universities, cynical politicians in our Parliament and the self-interested officials in our communities and institutions.

Today the Traditional Britain Group has been reinvigorated by a new, dynamic generation of young, intelligent and passionate people, determined to make a difference and show that there is, will be, and has always been an alternative – real conservatism.

Rees-Mogg, the Conservative MP for North East Somerset, addressed the group on May 17 in London.

A write-up on the website said: "In his speech, and subsequent answers to questions from the attendees, Mr Rees-Mogg expressed his disappointment with the EU, with his party’s attempts to redefine marriage and with abortion-on-demand, but toed the Party line on other matters.

"Gregory Lauder-Frost, our Vice-President, presided and thanked Mr.Rees-Mogg on behalf of the TBG presenting him with a gift from us."

In a statement, Traditional Britain said it should not be "smeared" by being labelled 'far-right'.

One of its previous speakers was Gerard Batten, 'whose wife is Asian', it said.

It added: "Politics is a dirty business to be sure.

"But we are a traditional conservative organisation concerned about the future of Britain and our nation. We encourage discussion on our Facebook Wall by sometimes provocative links to stories which have, however, already appeared in the media.

"We are naturally disappointed that Mr Rees-Mogg has been frightened by these media smears and forced to disassociate himself from perfectly normal conservatives who actually support him. In the past 20 years the Conservative Party have lost two thirds of their members by abandoning Toryism. We are not prepared to do that."