The British National Party mixed up two members of the House of Lords during a hate campaign waged on the internet, it has been revealed
Lord Patel of Blackburn (Lab) told peers of his experiences with the ultra-nationalist group during the debate on the Queen's Speech yesterday.
"I am myself a great lover of the internet and all that it brings, although I did have some problems of my own last year when I came into conflict with a number of supporters of a certain party recently represented on Question Time," he told the House. Lord Patel said he had refused to meet with BNP and "found myself the subject of an intense and somewhat vulgar internet campaign".
"I remember, over the whole weekend, reading pages and pages of internet blogs calling me any number of names and epitaphs, none of which I can repeat here," he said. "The culmination of this was on the Sunday evening, at the height of this small trouble, when I came across a front-page piece all about me - where I was born, what school I went to, what jobs and roles I have had over the years.
"Becoming slightly unnerved, I continued to the end of this long document, and I suppose that I was somewhat relieved to find that my detractors had not done their homework as well as I had thought. In their final attempt to disgrace me, they had published a picture of me. However, when I scrolled down to look at the picture, I saw that it was not a picture of me. It was a picture of my friend from the crossbenches, the noble Lord, Lord Patel.
"Well, I thought that it was easy to mistake one name for another. But perhaps they had gone a tad too far by suggesting that all peers look the same."
Lord Patel said he hoped his namesake, renowned physician Lord Patel of Dunkeld in Perth and Kinross, "did not suffer any difficulties from this". He then drew attention to the murders of four gay men in London and "a dramatic increase in homophobic attacks".
"This kind of hate crime, which is deplored by the vast majority of people, must not be allowed to continue," he said. "We have to turn our backs on those who seek to drive division and hatred between us and who would see our great country turn in on itself and away from the universal rights that so many have fought for and lost their lives defending."