Conservative MP Bob Stewart has been charged with two public order offences relating to a racially aggravated incident in London in December last year.
The Metropolitan Police said on Monday that Stewart, MP for Beckenham in south London, had been charged with using threatening or abusive words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour, and that the offence was racially aggravated.
He was also handed an alternative charge of using threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress. It will be left to the court to decide whether there was any racial element, the Met said.
The police launched an investigation after Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei, a Bahraini activist living in exile in the UK, made a complaint alleging he had been verbally racially abused by Stewart.
The allegation related to an incident outside Lancaster House, a Foreign Office building in Belgravia, central London, in December 2022 following a reception hosted by the Bahraini embassy.
Alwadaei, 36, who has said he was tortured in the Gulf state after taking part in anti-government protests and is now director of the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy, a non-profit group, alleged that Stewart told him “go back to Bahrain”.
Stewart will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on July 5. He will not have the Conservative party whip suspended at present, according to people familiar with the matter.
A Tory party insider said: “Bob has been clear that he regrets the comments that he made and he will be fighting the charges against him during a court appearance shortly.”
A former British Army officer who served in Northern Ireland and Bosnia, Stewart has been an MP since 2010 and sits on the House of Commons intelligence and security committee, as well as the Northern Ireland affairs committee.
He is also chair of the all-party parliamentary group on Bahrain. He received hospitality worth £1,245 from the Bahraini state last year, according to his entry in the register of MPs’ financial interests.
This included flights worth £650, accommodation worth £428 and meals worth £168, as part of a five-day visit in November last year.
The purpose of the trip was recorded as a visit to Bahrain International Airshow and a meeting with a foreign minister.