'I'm sorry I chose those words': Tory MP Paul Scully apologises after claiming there were 'no-go areas' in some cities

27 February 2024, 18:08 | Updated: 27 February 2024, 18:09

"I'm sorry that I chose those words" says Tory MP Paul Scully

By Jenny Medlicott

Tory MP Paul Scully has said he’s sorry he ‘chose those words’ after claiming there were religious ‘no-go areas’.

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The Tory MP for Sutton and Cheam sparked fresh backlash on Monday after he claimed there were ‘no-go areas’ in Tower Hamlets in London and Sparkhill in Birmingham on Monday.

Speaking to LBC’s Sangita Myska, Mr Scully said: “I will repeat my apology that I’m sorry that I chose those words.

“I can repeat it any number of times but actually what I’m sorry about is that I actually bothered to stand up in the first place and what worries me about that, because that’s not how my heart works, if we lose moderate voices in this debate then you do carry on with the frenzy that we’ve had for the last 24 hours… you leave it to the populist voice which is very inappropriate.”

Mr Scully made the comments after MP Lee Anderson, who had the Conservative whip removed over the weekend, claimed 'Islamists' had 'got control' of the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

However, the MP for Sutton and Cheam still refused to characterise Mr Anderson’s comments as Islamophobic following his apology, instead insisting they were anti-muslim.

Paul Scully calls Lee Anderson's Sadiq Khan comments 'anti-Muslim'

He said of the term Islamophobia: “I don’t accept that term, I believe it’s anti-muslim. I think that’s pretty still clear that I’m condemning what he’s saying.”

Pressed on the evidence behind his use of the phrase ‘no-go areas’, Mr Scully claimed that the case of Birmingham - which he admitted he had meant Small Heath not Sparkhill - was rooted in personal experience.

He said: “I was there with a British Bangladeshi friend of mine a short time ago when actually I was told not to get out of the car.

“I was told not to get out the car when we wanted to go to the cashpoint, stopping off to the cashpoint, because he would then do it for my own safety.”

But Sangita shut Mr Scully down, as she said his experience failed to act as evidence for his previous comments and was instead an “anecdote”.

Paul Scully has since apologised for this comments.
Paul Scully has since apologised for this comments. . Picture: Alamy

It comes after earlier on Tuesday LBC’s Nick Ferrari cut his interview with a minister short after he repeatedly failed to answer his questions about Lee Anderson's comments on Sadiq Khan.

Tory MPs, including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, have admitted that what Mr Anderson said was "wrong" but have repeatedly refused to answer one question: was what Mr Anderson said Islamophobic?

Nick asked immigration minister Michael Tomlinson on multiple occasions earlier on Tuesday, but to no avail.

Pressure has been growing on Mr Sunak and the Tories to say whether Mr Anderson's comments were Islamophobic, including from those within the party.

Mr Anderson refused to apologise for his comments about Sadiq Khan on Monday.

The MP for Ashfield admitted his words were "clumsy" but doubled down on his criticism of the Mayor of London.

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