Sajid Javid is the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (HCLG) and, as such, has direct governmental responsibility for community cohesion in the UK.
On Thursday, Mr Javid tweeted an image of a vile hate-letter that he claimed had been sent to him, under the hashtag ‘#fanmail’.
And in case there was any doubt that he was saying it had been sent to him, when asked in a follow-up tweet if that was the case, he answered simply ‘Yep’:
The incident was picked up by the national press, which claimed that Sajid was the fifth Muslim MP to receive one of the letters:
But today evidence has emerged that makes Mr Javid’s claim look highly questionable – as the same picture had been tweeted six days earlier as having been sent to an East London Muslim family:
The image tweeted by Javid had been cropped to remove the envelope and most of the table behind the letter but is from the same image of the same letter – as identical creases and light/shade areas, together with identical fold positions and the small area of table still remaining, show:
The SKWAWKBOX emailed Mr Javid to ask for comment – and whether he intended to apologise, or even to resign, for the untrue claim. We also emailed the Conservative Party press office to ask whether Theresa May or the party would censure Javid.
Neither have so far responded.
However, Mr Javid did respond to a challenge sent to him on Twitter by a UKIP figure – to claim that he had received such a letter, but recycled the earlier image rather than tweet a picture of the one sent to him – however, his observers were unimpressed:
At the very least, by his own admission, Javid ‘borrowed’ someone else’s image and tweeted it as his own, without explaining what he had done. Javid does not yet appear to have provided a picture of the letter he claims was sent to him.
The SKWAWKBOX has offered to help:
Mr Javid, please DM an image of *your* letter. We'll be happy to publicise it for you
— The SKWAWKBOX (@skwawkbox) March 17, 2018
Claiming a piece of anti-Muslim hate-mail had been sent to him would be bound to cause anxiety for Muslim families and likely to inflame community tensions.
As HCLG Secretary with responsibility for community cohesion, sending out a picture that was not his, while claiming that it was of a letter sent to him personally, makes his position untenable – even if he did receive one, as using the incorrect image will have undermined the credibility of the hate crime.
The other four MPs to have received similar letters represent the Labour Party.
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