Portsmouth campaigners fear racism spike if Boris Johnson becomes prime minister

RACIST attacks in Portsmouth could increase under new Conservative leadership, according to a city pressure group.

Thursday, 18th July 2019, 1:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd July 2019, 9:06 am
Protestors from Stand Up To Racism in Guildhall Square, Portsmouth. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Members of the Stand Up To Racism Portsmouth group fear that hate crimes could rise if Boris Johnson is elected as the new Conservative Party leader – and subsequently made prime minister.

Their concern is that a firmer approach to Brexit could lead to an increase in incidents, as there were in the months after the EU referendum.

In 2017, Hampshire Constabulary reported a 33 per cent increase in hate crimes after the referendum, with racists using it to justify their prejudices.

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Simon Magorian from Stand Up To Racism. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Simon Magorian from Stand Up To Racism Portsmouth said: ‘Boris Johnson becoming prime minister would give a platform to racists here in Portsmouth.

‘The most right-wing people in society could see this as an opportunity to engage in culture wars, just as there have been in the United States of America.

‘I don’t think the situation here would get as bad as it has been in the USA, but people could still end up getting hurt if racism rears its head again.’

Yesterday evening, Mr Magorian was joined by almost a dozen other group members for a protest in Guildhall Square – making their voices heard about the choice between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt for the next Conservative leader.

Specifically, the protesters referred to Mr Johnson’s comment in August 2018, when he said that women wearing burqas ‘look like letter boxes’ – something he now says was to ‘defend their right’ to wear it.

The protest followed the resignation of Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan, who wrote in his resignation letter that ministers are spending every day ‘working beneath the dark cloud of Brexit.’

On this, Mr Magorian said that, of all candidates that stood for election, he believed that none of them ‘were up to the job’.

He said: ‘I don't believe any of them were suitable candidates – and therefore there should be a general election sooner rather than later.’

The new leader of the Conservative Party should be announced at 11.45am.