The Conservatives have suspended 14 party members for allegedly posting a series of anti-Muslim comments on social media.
The party took action after being sent screenshots of abusive messages on the unofficial Jacob Rees-Mogg Supporters Group Facebook account by a Twitter user going by the name @matesjacob, The Guardian reports.
The comments included calls to “get rid of all mosques” and “turf all Muslims out of public office”.
In another post, a man who identified himself as a Tory party member said he would never vote for Home Secretary Sajid Javid as it would be a vote “for Islam to lead this country”, according the Daily Mirror.
Other members of the Facebook group claimed that Javid, who is of Pakistani heritage, is a “Trojan horse” and that “Mussies” are “here to destroy us”.
A Conservative Party spokesperson said that the group “is in no way affiliated” with the party and that “many of the people identified on it are not party members”, but added that officials had “identified some people who are party members and they have been immediately suspended”.
“When we find evidence of members making offensive or inappropriate comments, we consistently take decisive action. Discrimination or abuse of any kind is wrong and will not be tolerated,” the spokesperson added.
Rees-Mogg, a leading Brexiteer and chair of the anti-EU European Research Group (ERG), also sought to distance himself from the comments, while getting in a veiled jibe about Labour’s ongoing anti-Semitism crisis.
“Islamophobes have no place in the Tory party and it is encouraging that we have acted swiftly, unlike the socialists,” he said.
The Conservative suspensions came as Tory peer Baroness Warsi called for an independent inquiry into what she called “institutional” Islamophobia in the party.
Warsi, the first Muslim woman to sit in the Cabinet, told told BBC Radio 4’s World at One that her party’s failure to address the issue risked damaging Conservative chances at the next election.