Sajid Javid condemns writer Rod Liddle over ‘unacceptable’ Muslim voters comment

Posted On: 
1st November 2019

Sajid Javid has condemned Spectator columnist Rod Liddle over an article in which he suggested holding elections at a time when Muslims are unable to vote.

Rod Liddle and Sajid Javid
PA Images

The Chancellor said he did not know if the comment was intended as a “joke”, before branding it “not funny and not acceptable”.

Writing in the conservative-leaning magazine, Mr Liddle said: “My own choice of election date would be a day when universities are closed and Muslims are forbidden to do anything on pain of hell, or something.

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“There must be at least one day like that in the Muslim calendar, surely? That would deliver at least 40 seats to the Tories, I reckon.”

The comments prompted Mr Javid to hit back: “Not clear if the Rod Liddle comment is supposed to be a joke - but it's not funny and not acceptable.

“No community in our country should be put down that way.”

Foreign Office minister, Lord Ahmad, added: “Appalling article by Rod Liddle & for the reputable @Spectator to publish, fuels a rising tide of religious prejudice against over 3 million British Muslims.”

Elsewhere, David Lidington, who acted as Theresa May’s de-facto deputy Prime Minister, condemned the comments as “foul” and “[not] just some bad joke to be dismissed”.

Responding to mounting criticism, Mr Liddle said: “It was a very light-hearted series of suggestions about when to hold an election, based upon the silly dispute over the proposed dates for the election.

“They were very obviously ludicrous suggestions, satirical in manner, about how to reduce the Labour vote by targeting groups which traditionally vote Labour and occasioned by the wrangling over whether the election should be on December 9 or 12 and the reasons for that wrangling.”

But the article was also criticised after the author wrote of “the sobbing and oppressed Rosie ‘#MeToo’ Duffield” – in reference to the Labour MP who recently opened up about her experience of domestic abuse.

Her party colleague, David Lammy, added: "This is hate speech. Mocking Rosie Duffield for having the courage to speak out about domestic abuse and calling for ways to stop British Muslims voting."

The section was also criticised by Spectator writer Isabel Hardman, who added: “I know personally how strong and brave survivors of domestic abuse are and Rosie Duffield is one of the finest among us.”

Meanwhile, in a letter to BBC director-general Tony Hall, former Labour minister Liam Byrne branded the language “disgustingly racist and sexist” and called on the broadcaster to no longer invite him on to its programmes.