News is breaking that Phil Woolas MP has been found guilty.
This is what the case was about:
The specific allegation is that Mr Woolas put out leaflets suggesting Mr Watkins pandered to Muslim militants and refused to condemn death threats he said he had received from such groups.
There was also the claim his Lib Dem rival had illicitly channelled money for his campaign from a foreign donor – a rich Arab sheikh.
There was no truth in these claims and counsel for Mr Watkins accused Mr Woolas of stirring up racial tension by running a “risky” campaign designed to “galvanise the white Sun vote” because he was convinced he was going to lose his seat.
Mr Woolas defended his leaflets, saying it was legitimate to ask questions about how opponents fund their campaign and the political company they keep.
Woolas’ claims were surreal. There appeared to be no evidence at all to back them up. That being so, a plausible explanation for his levelling of these allegations was that he hoped to stir up and capitalise on anti-Muslim prejudice. That he should choose to do so for electoral reasons is all the more disgraceful.
There are a series of specific Islamist political parties and groups operating in the United Kingdom. You can read about their activities on Harry’s Place. For an MP to whip up phoney concern over Islamic extremism, when there are particular extremist groups which must be defeated, makes his conduct even worse.
Phil Woolas will now leave Parliament (and the shadow cabinet) and is unlikely to return.