A racism row has erupted between Stop Brexit demonstrator Steve Bray and new foreign secretary James Cleverly. The 53-year-old MP, who was recently appointed to the top role by new PM Liz Truss, took to Twitter after an encounter with the Port Talbot protester in Westminster earlier this week.
Cleverly tweeted: “Wow, a lot of masks are slipping this week. Some people really have a problem with the Conservatives having such a diverse team under Liz Truss. Got told to leave the country by Steve Bray on Monday.”
He also stated that, elsewhere, he’d been branded “a coconut” before adding, “What joys will the rest of the week bring?” You can get more politics news and other story updates straight to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletters here.
However, Bray (also 53) strongly denied the claim and posted a video of the moment the pair came face to face. In it the Welshman can be heard to say, “You’re a disgrace Mr Cleverly, your party is finished – the sooner you’re out of the UK the better.”
In response, Cleverly can be heard saying, “Send me home, Steve? You want me to go home, do you?” Bray then replied, “I never said that. Don’t make this about race Mr Cleverly – the sooner you’re out of office the better.”
Watch the video of Steve Bray confronting James Cleverly:
In a further tweet, posted today (Thursday, September 8), Bray fired back again, accusing Mr Cleverly of misrepresenting what he’d said, adding: “It’s tragic for the real victims of racism. To encourage a pile on and vitriol of hatred is a reflection of you, your party and your politics. #ToriesOut.”
Prior to that a supporter had warned Bray on social media to choose more carefully what he said in such situations, so as not to give opponents the chance to use his words against him. He replied: “I agree, but I treat everyone as equal. I want every lying Tory fraudster out of my country. I told (Jacob) Rees-Mogg and (Dominic) Raab exactly the same.”
Attempts have been made to reach James Cleverly for comment.