Tory MP Bob Stewart pleads not guilty to racially abusing man
Conservative MP Bob Stewart has pleaded not guilty to racially abusing a man after he allegedly told him to “go back to Bahrain”.
The Metropolitan Police launched an investigation after a complaint was made by activist Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, who has said he is living in exile after being tortured in the Gulf state.
The MP for Beckenham in south-east London is alleged to have told Mr Alwadaei during an angry confrontation on December 14 last year to “get stuffed” and that he is “taking money off my country”.
The Met charged the 74-year-old politician with a racially aggravated public order offence over the incident outside the Foreign Office’s Lancaster House.
He appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday to plead not guilty to the charge.
The MP also denied an alternative count of using threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
The second charge is to allow the court discretion on the racial element of the allegation and does not relate to a separate incident, the Met said.
The politician confirmed his full name as Robert Alexander Stewart and gave the court an address in Bromley.
A one-day trial has been fixed for November 3 at the same court.
Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring did not give Stewart unconditional bail but “simply” adjourned the hearing, which means that if the politician does not attend court in November the trial will go ahead in his absence.
The defendant said: “I will be here, judge.”
Stewart, a former British Army officer, kept the Tory whip following the authorisation of the charges.
He has represented Beckenham since 2010.
Mr Alwadaei, 37, who said he was tortured after taking part in anti-government protests in the country, is the director of advocacy at the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy.
Published: by Radio NewsHub