MPs vote to drop iEngage from Islamophobia group

By Jennifer Lipman, July 19, 2011
Simon Hughes

Simon Hughes

MPs on the all-party group on Islamophobia have voted against using iEngage, the controversial Islamist group, as its secretariat.

The vote on Monday evening, by 60 to 2, followed the resignation in February of its Conservative chair Kris Hopkins and Labour vice-chair Lord Janner over an earlier decision to use iEngage.

Despite their resignations the group retained the link with iEngage. However it pledged to investigate fully concerns before iEngage was officially confirmed.

Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes, who took over as from Mr Hopkins and Lord Janner as one of the group's chairmen, was tasked with considering iEngage's record. In June he asked Birmingham University academic Chris Allen to compile a report to be sent to members of the group.

Mr Allen's report into iEngage, which the Community Security Trust has described as having "a troubling attitude to antisemitism", was circulated before yesterday's vote.

In it Mr Allen concluded: "Since its launch in November 2010 the APPG on Islamophobia has been little more than a sideshow: an unhelpful, unwanted and unnecessary distraction from giving Islamophobia the rightful, timely and necessary attention it so desperately needs.

"There can be no doubt whatsoever that the credibility of the APPG has been damaged."

Mr Bottomley, a Conservative MP and co-chair of the group, was absent from the vote, having voted in favour of using iEngage in February.

Last updated: 11:07am, July 19 2011