Tory MP apologises for tweeting image of Sadiq Khan being mounted by pig balloon 3 years ago

Tory MP apologises for tweeting image of Sadiq Khan being mounted by pig balloon

The London mayor has called for the Conservative Party to take action after Michael Fabricant shared the image that has led to accusations of Islamophobia

Conservative MP Michael Fabricant has issued an apology after tweeting a cartoon image of Sadiq Khan being mounted by an inflatable pig.

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The social media post quickly led to accusations of Islamophobia, with Sadiq Khan calling on the Tory party to take action against the backbencher, who has represented Lichfield in Staffordshire since 1997, and MP Wes Streeting saying he has written to the Conservative chief whip, Julian Smith, about the incident.

The image - a reference to the 20-foot "angry baby blimp" depicting US president Donald Trump launched in Parliament Square earlier today - showed a smiling Donald Trump and in the background, a balloon pig mounting a balloon with Khan’s face on it, captioned: “Breaking news: Trump defeats Sadiq Khan in balloon wars.”

Responding to the image, Khan told LBC: “I would expect that if a member of a mainstream party who is an MP to have tweeted what he tweeted, his party would take action against him.”

Apologising via a statement on Twitter, Fabricant said: “Because I was distracted in a meeting and saw it on a tiny iPhone screen, I didn’t spot what it really was.

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“When I saw the picture I thought it was just a funny cartoon of a flying pig doing something to the baby Trump blimp.”

He then realised it was “something quite different and very nasty” and deleted it after a couple of minutes, he said.

He added: “I would never deliberately put up a racist or Islamophobic tweet to offend people.”

In a separate incident, Fabricant was also videoed with the flag of apartheid South Africa on what appeared to be the mantelpiece of his office during an interview with Channel 4 News this week.

The Channel 4 News fact checking account tweeted at the MP: "Hi Mike Fabricant, what is this flag on your mantelpiece?"

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Fabricant has yet to respond to the tweet that has amassed over 1,500 likes on the social media site.