Tory MP admitted he was ‘tempted’ to join conspiracy theorist Piers Corbyn's anti-lockdown march

EXCLUSIVE: MP also donated money to Piers Corbyn’s campaign against Covid restrictions


The Tory MP Sir Desmond Swayne has admitted he was “tempted” to join an anti-lockdown protest in central London led by the notorious conspiracy theorists Piers Corbyn and David Icke.

The New Forest West MP revealed he “contemplated attending” the demonstration last August – and that he subsequently donated money to a campaign to support Jeremy Corbyn’s brother after he was fined for breaching Covid 19 prevention laws at the protest.

The Unite For Freedom protest in Trafalgar Square on August 29, at which Mr Icke and Mr Corbyn both spoke, saw one protester unveil a flag displaying the symbol of Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists.

On Friday, Sir Desmond told the JC that at the time of making his comments his "only interest was lockdown" and not any association with Piers Corbyn's opinions.

Writing on his website blog in an entry posted on September 5 last year,  Sir Desmond said he considered  Jeremy Corbyn’s elder brother to be “a rather odd fellow, with some pretty wacky views.”

But he said he was horrified to learn that Piers Corbyn had been handed an on-the-spot fine for taking part in an anti-lockdown protest in breach of the government’s Covid-19 prevention rules.

Sir Desmond wrote he had “at least contemplated attending” that same march.

He added that he was opposed to “intrusion into our civil liberties by coronavirus regulations whereby we are told whom we may meet, where we may meet them, and now even what we must wear.”

The MP then added: “So,  I was tempted to join the protest march last weekend in London against the coronavirus regulations and for which I had received a couple of email invitations.

“I certainly wasn’t put off by the prospect  fine because it struck me as entirely possible to attend such events and yet abide by the required social distance set out in guidelines. Furthermore, so many other protest marches have been allowed to proceed largely unmolested by the authorities including the Black Lives Matter protests, and just in the last week, Extinction Rebellion.”

The August 29 demo in central London was the subject of widespread media coverage last year – including a report in the JC.  Piers Corbyn later revealed he had been arrested and subsequently handed a £10,000 fixed penalty notice under new coronavirus laws restricting public gatherings of more than 30 people.

Mr Icke has previously spoken of  "global conspiracy Rothschild-Zionism" and has in the past accused Jews of helping to plan the coronavirus outbreak and of secretly being behind antisemitic attacks on their own communities.  He has also suggested that Adolf Hitler was Jewish and an agent of Zionism – both in books sold on Amazon and most recently in a video uploaded to YouTube in March of this year. 

Piers Corbyn has previously attended a meeting of the  Keep Talking conspiracy theorist group which invites guest speakers involved in Holocaust denial.  In January he was condemned for distributing leaflets that compared vaccines to Auschwitz.

The Community Security Trust (CST) led calls on Thursday  for the Conservative Party to act over reports that Sir Desmond appeared on the antisemitic conspiracy theorist Richie Allen’s online show as a guest to cast doubt on the scale of the Covid-19  death toll.

Anti-racism organisation Hope not Hate reported on Thursday that the Tory MP had appeared on The Richie Allen Show last November, where he said that while coronavirus was a “serious disease”  we needed to have a “sense of proportion”.

Sir Desmond tweeted on Thursday: "I have never expressed antisemitic sentiment and if I'd ever given comfort to antisemites I'd be mortified. I do wonder what I'm going to be accused of next."

A Tory spokesperson added: "Desmond Swayne has explained that he was not aware of the history of this show and would never have appeared on it had he been."

On Wednesday, Sir Desmond was at the centre of a storm after it emerged he had  urged anti-lockdown campaigners to persist with their fight against government restrictions and even claimed the NHS capacity figures were being “manipulated” to exaggerate the scale of the current pandemic. 

Responding to the reports about his Richie Allen Show appearance, the CST said: “It is scandalous that any MP would appear on this notorious radio show that has supported Holocaust deniers, promoted conspiracies about British Jews and is closely connected to conspiracy theorist David Icke.

“The Conservative Party needs to deal with this as a matter of urgency.”

The JC first revealed how Manchester-based presenter Richie Allen had invited guests who had openly made antisemitic remarks onto his show.

He once hosted Alison Chabloz on his show calling her a “remarkable woman” despite her history of making openly antisemitism remarks.

The infamous Holocaust denier Nick Kolerstrom was also a regular on Richie Allen’s show, which used to be broadcast on conspiracy theorist David Icke’s website.

In February 2019, the JC revealed how Wavertree Labour Party official Alex Scott-Samuel had also appeared on the show on several occasions.

Sir Desmond told the JC on Friday:”My only interest was lockdown.

"Remember at the time climate and other protests were being given a fair wind  but any lockdown protest was clamped down hard.

"There is no other Corbyn opinion I could possibly be associated with.”

A Conservative Party spokesperson said:“Desmond’s views on Coronavirus are not shared by the Party and have been condemned.

“The Government is taking world-leading action to tackle the Coronavirus.

“Desmond has apologised and been warned about his appearance with those who share views not fit for public life and his appearance on a radio station where these views are promoted.”

Sir Desmond also reflected on his appearance on The Richie Allen Show saying:” “I was not aware of the history of this show and had I known my appearance on it would have offended the Jewish community, I would not have appeared on it. I apologise for any offence given.”



Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive