Tories are at loggerheads after a speech at a fundraising launch for Huddersfield Parliamentary candidate Itrat Ali.
A Tory chief stormed out during Dewsbury-born peer Sayeeda Warsi's speech at the Cedar Court Hotel at Ainley Top on Sunday night.
It's claimed that Baroness Warsi, , Britain’s first Muslim Cabinet minister, spoke about the troubles in Gaza, an issue which led to her quitting the Government last year.
In August Baroness Warsi resigned as Communities Minister in protest at Prime Minister David Cameron’s 'morally indefensible' failure to condemn the suffering in Gaza.
Yesterday's speech provoked anger from Jewish Alan Burton who is chairman of the Dewsbury Constituency Conservative Association.
Mr Burton, of Mirfield, walked out just minutes into Baroness Warsi’s speech, only returning after a colleague texted him to say she had finished.
After the high-profile event, attended by 400 people, including Colne Valley Tory MP Jason McCartney, Mr Burton expressed his anger on Facebook.
He wrote: “Just listened to Sayeeda Warsi speech at Itrat Ali’s event which turned into a diatribe against Israel and a pro-Hamas speech.
“Walked out in disgust, never again will I speak to her.”
Later Baroness Warsi, the defeated Tory candidate in Dewsbury at the General Election in 2005, took to Twitter to demand an apology.
She wrote: “Who is Alan Burton? Can’t ever recall speaking to him. Alan Burton’s post is a complete lie. Not one mention of Hamas in my speech.
“Appalled and disgusted at the continued lies and propaganda to silence me on the issue of human rights.”
She added: “So I do a speech, @ruggerhooker (Mr Burton’s Twitter name) lies about it, I ask for an apology. I get vile abuse and accused of anti-semitism on the back of these lies.”
Supporters leapt to Baroness Warsi’s defence on social media. Andrew Stephenson, Tory MP for Pendle in East Lancashire, tweeted: “Having attended and listened to @SayeedaWarsi’s excellent speech in #Huddersfield I can confirm it was neither anti-Israel nor pro-Hamas.”
Baroness Warsi told the Examiner she delivered a “stock campaign speech” she had used three or four times before and it was “not controversial.”
She added: “I get the most vile and threatening accusations thrown at me and in the past I have just put up with these lies as part of being in politics.
“For too long I’ve tolerated defamation and lies but I am standing firm on this. Both his comments are completely untrue and I just hope he is principled enough to admit his mistake and I look forward to his apology.”
The Baroness said she didn’t know Mr Burton – nor his religion – but realised afterwards that he had stayed until the end of the night and “came up to say hello on the way out.”
She said she had no intention of publishing the contents of her speech until she received an apology.
Mr Burton declined to comment on the row but the Examiner understands he is standing by his remarks.
Mrs Ali insisted there was no mention of Hamas in the speech and the only reference to Gaza was when the Baroness explained her reasons for quitting the Cabinet.
She added: “Sayeeda only very briefly mentioned Palestine and Gaza, apart from that she was supporting me and speaking about Conservative policy.
“I don’t know whether there are any personal issues (between the Baroness and Mr Burton). As far as I know he went downstairs to get a drink at the bar.
“I am a bit annoyed because I don’t want to detract from a fabulously well-attended event.”