Labour chair apologises over 'islamophobic' comments on Facebook

CHAIRMAN of the Tower Hamlets Labour party was forced to apologise today following claims he had made islamophobic comments on Facebook. MP George Gallow

by Gemma Collins

CHAIRMAN of the Tower Hamlets Labour party was forced to apologise today following claims he had made "islamophobic" comments on Facebook.

MP George Galloway called for Graham Taylor who is also the Labour candidate for Stepney to be sacked and to face disciplinary action after he posted a comment on the interactive website about the Town Hall being a "centre of Islamic fundamentalism".

The Bethnal Green and Bow MP wrote to Labour's General Secretary Ray Collins, MP Jim Fitzpatrick and Labour parliamentary candidate Rushanara Ali and branded the remarks "islamophobic" and "racist".

But following Mr Galloway's comments Mr Taylor said he "sincerely and unreservedly" apologised for "any offence" he had caused.

He added: "My comments about the Town Hall were meant to be ironic, but with hindsight I realise that they were foolish and open to misunderstanding.

"I have made Tower Hamlets my home, because I value the diversity and tolerance that exists here. Somebody in my position should know better and take more care in how they express their feelings."

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The comments have since been removed from the site but a screen-grab of the web page - seen by the Advertiser - shows Mr Taylor had written on his 'status' he "is off to that centre of Islamic fundamentalism - Tower Hamlets Town Hall".

This is followed by the response "Give em hell" from someone under the name of Judith Gardiner, a second response from another person who wrote "Bring some pork scratchings" and another who posted the remark "Pork".

Mr Galloway said: "These comments should have no place anywhere, never mind in a party claiming its commitment to opposing racism and respect for people of faith.

"Mr Taylor is clearly not a fit and proper person to hold office in the Labour Party."

The comments are believed to have been made before Mr Taylor attended a meeting on election arrangements at the Town Hall on Monday night - the same night the Dispatches programme was aired on television.

But Mr Taylor insisted he was not responsible nor did he "endorse the offensive comments that were made by others" under his post.