Labour has called for the Conservative party to suspend two senior Tory figures who equated the storming of the US Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump with people opposing Brexit.
Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader and party chair, wrote to Amanda Milling, who chairs the Conservative party, to say she was “deeply concerned” at comments by Susan Hall, the Tory group leader on the London assembly, and Andrew RT Davies, formerly leader of the Welsh Conservatives.
Davies, who is a member of the Senedd Cymru and shadow minister for health, responded to a tweet by Keir Starmer condemning the scenes in Washington by noting the Labour leader’s former support for a second Brexit referendum.
Davies wrote: “To be honest I’m not sure you’re in the strongest position right now given you campaigned to overturn democracy and the will of the British people.”
In her tweet, Hall said she was “flabbergasted at the amount of remainers screaming on Twitter that Trump voters should respect democracy – err, hellooo – pot – kettle spring to mind!”
Hall later apparently deleted the tweet, but sent another tweet calling the Green MP Caroline Lucas, another supporter of a second Brexit vote, a “hypocrite” for condemning the violent Trump supporters.
In her letter to Milling, Rayner wrote: “I am deeply concerned that two Conservative elected representatives have equated democratic debate in the UK with an armed, violent and fundamentally anti-democratic assault on the US legislature, during which people lost their lives.
“These statements are absolutely unacceptable, extremely dangerous and must not be allowed to stand.
“To equate peaceful democratic debate in the UK with deadly violence in the USA validates the violence that we have seen in Washington DC, serves to legitimise and incite violence in our own country and undermines our democracy and democratic processes.”
Rayner said she hoped Milling would condemn the comments, begin an inquiry, suspend Hall and Davies from the party, and “ensure that they are not able to stand as Conservative candidates in the May elections”.
Boris Johnson and senior Conservative ministers have vigorously condemned the violence in Washington, but have largely steered clear of condemning Trump for fomenting it.
As well as making repeated, baseless claims that the November presidential election was “stolen” from him due to fraud, Trump addressed the protest crowd in Washington shortly before it stormed the Capitol.
In a tweet on Wednesday night, Johnson said: “Disgraceful scenes in US Congress. The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.”
In a tweet earlier on Thursday, Rayner called Johnson “spineless”, and the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, “toadying”, saying both “have to also take their fair share of shame for not calling out his lies after the election”.
The Conservatives were contacted for comment.