Days before the United Kingdom’s referendum on European Union membership, a prominent figure in the Brexit campaign resigned amid controversy surrounding anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant posts on her Twitter.
Arabella Arkwright, a businesswoman who runs health clinics and other ventures, resigned her position as a board member of the Vote Leave campaign group on June 20, reports The Times.
A series of Arkwright’s retweets in May and June came under fire as anti-Muslim. One post included a picture of a white child in a crowd of people wearing burqas. The caption read, “Britain 2050: Why didn’t you stop them Grandad?," according to The Guardian.
Another retweet promoted action to get "seventh-century barbaric savagery” out of Britain, to which Arkwright replied, “No to sharia law,” according to the Times.
When the tweets became highly publicized, the Vote Leave campaign asked Arkwright for her resignation, says The Guardian. A spokesperson told reporters, “These tweets do not reflect the views of the Vote Leave campaign.”
When asked about the posts, Arkwright said her retweets do not indicate endorsement of the content.
“I [retweet] a wide variety of different views on issues related to the referendum with which I do not agree in order that others can see the breadth of opinion on these matters,” she said. “Is there anything wrong in that?”
In a statement to The Guardian, Arkwright said: "I reject all prejudice and am deeply sorry for any [offense] that may have been caused. Moreover, perhaps I can be clear, I ABHOR ANY FORM OF RACISM."
Labor MP Emma Reynolds, a member of the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign to remain in the EU, called the tweets “racist” and said Vote Leave had become “a nasty campaign scaremongering about immigration."
In what CNN called “the single most momentous day in British politics since WWII,” the UK voted on June 23 to leave the EU by a narrow 52-48 vote. Since the vote, global markets and the pound have tumbled, and UK Prime Minister David Cameron has announced his resignation.