Conservative election candidate suspended over anti-Muslim posts

Posts from Brimsdown ward candidate’s Twitter account were revealed by Hope Not Hate, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

A tweet posted from Stephen Savva's account in 2017
A tweet posted from Stephen Savva’s account in 2017

A Conservative election candidate has been suspended over past social media posts – including comments supporting “the removal of all immigrants” and asking people who come to the UK to “stop dressing funny”.

Enfield Conservatives confirmed that Stephen Antony Savva, a candidate for Brimsdown ward, had been suspended from the party “following reports of offensive tweets” and that an investigation into the matter was taking place.

The posts, which were made on Twitter in 2017 and 2018, were uncovered by the national antiracism campaign group Hope Not Hate. Savva’s account has since been locked so that only approved followers can see his posts.

One tweet from Stephen’s account stated: “How about the removal of ALL immigrants? Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Just think of all the homes that would suddenly become available? All those school places? No more have to wait an ion [sic] to be seen by a doctor…”

A reply from Savva’s account to an article about TV chef Nadiya Hussain revealing that she suffers Islamophobic abuse on social media stated: “As a westerner she shouldn’t wear a headdress. If she integrated more, she wouldn’t suffer any abuse.”

Another thread included statements that burkas are “NOT normal British clothing” and added: “Neither are those dresses Muslim men wear.”

A further post stated that Savva believed “those who are privileged enough to come and live here should live by OUR ways. And stop dressing funny.”

A post from Savva’s account in 2018 also stated: “[Labour MP] Diane Abbot deserves to be bullied. She’s just vile! She puts herself in a position to be bullied. Sometimes she should just shut up.”

The same year, a post about former Labour leader Ed Miliband eating a bacon sandwich stated: “Surely it’s against his religion? In which case it exposes Miliband as the hypocrite that he is.”

Savva previously stood for the Conservatives in Southbury ward in 2014. In June 2018 a now-defunct news website, The Red Roar, revealed a post apparently made by Savva stating: “We should ban Islam from being practiced [sic] in the UK. It’s an evil religion, and one which before to long [sic] will force all of us to practice.”

Before the suspension was announced, Gregory Davis, a researcher at Hope Not Hate, said the comments made clear that Savva was a “wildly inappropriate candidate who cannot possibly represent the best interests of a diverse constituency” and called on the Conservatives to “take immediate action to remove him from the party”.

A post made from Enfield Conservatives Twitter account on Saturday, 30th April stated: “Enfield Conservatives can confirm that Mr Savva has been suspended from the party following reports of offensive tweets. We are currently investigating the matter and take reports such as these extremely seriously.”

Savva and Enfield North Conservatives have been approached for comment.

The latest controversy comes weeks after Colin Davis resigned from his position as chair of Enfield Southgate Conservative Association after a photo appearing to show him wear Nazi uniform in the 1980s was uncovered. Colin had been lined up as a candidate for Oakwood ward earlier this year but his candidacy was withdrawn prior to the deadline for election nominations in April.

Chris Joannides, another Conservative election candidate, was previously suspended from the party in 2013 after he shared an image on Facebook which compared burkas to “binbags”. Chris later returned to the party and stood as an Enfield candidate in 2018, but failed to win election. He is standing again this year, in Southgate ward.