The Conservative Party is facing calls to investigate one of its MPs after photographs emerged of her appearing alongside two far-right activists.
The Huff Post reported the images were taken on 31 January – as Britain marked its departure from the European Union – in a pub where the MP for Bishop Aukland had organised a gathering or residents.
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The anti-racism organisation Hope Not Hate also posted screenshots of Mr Foster’s far-right posts, and said they had previously condemned him for burning a Qur’an in 2012.
Ms Davison has also been photographed with Colin Raine, a former Conservative activist, who was not allowed back into the party’s ranks after making Islamophobic comments online.
Hope Not Hate said Mr Raine had previously organised a rally outside the former Labour MP for Bishop Aukland Helen Goodman’s office in 2018 alongside members of the far-right English Defence League.
Ms Davison told The Independent the photos were taken at an event open to the public and that she “in now way whatsoever condone the views highlighted of the individuals concerned”.
Matthew McGregor, the campaigns director at Hope Not Hate, said: “These allegations are extremely serious and warrant the Conservative party launching an urgent investigation, during which time Dehenna Davison should be suspended until a finding has been made.
“Davison must answer serious questions about her connections with far-right figures Colin Raine and Andy Foster.
“These extreme individuals should be unwelcome at any mainstream political party gathering, but it appears that they still move closely with the local Bishop Auckland Conservative Association and the new MP.
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“It is important for our politics generally, and the Conservatives specifically, that the party aggressively rejects any association with the far-right”.
Labour’s shadow equalities minister, Dawn Butler, said it was “another example of the serious level of complacency towards the far-right by the Tory party”.
She added: “The police have warned that the far right are the fastest growing terrorist threat in the UK, yet we see the Tories proudly fraternising with open racists and neo-Nazis. This must be urgently investigated.”
The Independent has contacted the Conservative Party and both Mr Foster and Mr Raine for comment.