The UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced on Friday that Conservative MP Bob Stewart was found guilty in a Westminster Magistrates court of racially abusing a Bahraini activist outside of an event hosted by the Government of Bahrain in December 2022, after a one day trial. Stewart had told Sayed Ahmed Alwadei to “go back to Bahrain” and accused him of taking money from the UK.
The chief magistrate Paul Goldspring fined Stewart £600, but did not sentence him to any jail time. The CPS said that Stewart would have been fined only £400, but the use of racist language, which Stewart claimed was misinterpreted, amounted to a serious hate crime. He also has to pay legal costs of £835.
The BBC reported that Prosecutor Paul Jarvis told the court that Mr Alwadei felt “upset and humiliated” by Stewart’s comments. Paul Cavin KC, Stewart’s solicitor, argued that Alwadei had “no right” to confront Stewart in public and said to expect a “House of Commons” response. Cavin claimed that any hostility was in response to Alwadei’s behaviour towards Stewart. Bob Stewart has stated continuously that he is not racist, that he was being accused of corruption and theft by Alwadei, and that his comments were because his “honour was at stake”.
After the guilty verdict, opposition parties, including Labour and the Liberal Democrats, called for the Conservative whip to be removed from Bob Stewart. Labour Chair Anneliese Dodds tweeted that Stewarts behavior is “totally unacceptable” and the whip should be removed immediately. If the whip is removed, Stewart would have to sit as an independent MP. The Conservative Party and Bob Stewart have not yet commented on the guilty verdict.