MPs busted the Metropolitan Police's decision to investigate Brexiteer Darren Grimes for alleged racial hatred after an interview with television historian David Starkey.
Grimes, 27, is said to be cautiously interviewed by Scotland Yard at a police station after he met Dr. Starkey interviewed Reasoned UK on his YouTube channel.
The 75-year-old historian provoked widespread anger at the height of the Black Lives Matter protests by commenting, "Slavery wasn't genocide, otherwise there wouldn't be so many fucking blacks in Africa or the UK, would it?"
In the excitement that followed, he withdrew from his Fitzwilliam College Cambridge scholarship and lost a book deal with HarperCollins.
Dr. Starkey later said his comment was a "terrible mistake", adding, "I am very sorry and I apologize wholeheartedly for the crime it caused."
Mr Grimes, known as a Brexit activist, also apologized, saying he should have "consulted the historian thoroughly" about the comments.
Now he is accused of violating public order and of inciting racial hatred. The maximum sentence is seven years in prison. It is believed that Dr. Starkey was not contacted by the police.
However, the Met police have come under fire over their decision to investigate Grimes. Former Interior Minister Sajid Javid described the decision as "simply absurd".
Pictured Brexiteer Darren Grimes is said to be questioned with caution by the Metropolitan Police in an interview he conducted on a YouTube channel
However, the Met Police have come under fire over their decision to investigate Grimes. Tory backbencher Sajid Javid described the decision as "simply absurd".
Ben Bradley, Conservative MP for Mansfield, tweeted angrily: "God save the world if people who are offended make something a crime !!"
Tim Farron, former Lib Dem leader, added: "There may be more here than you think, but at first glance this is completely ridiculous."
Mr Javid tweeted, “David Starkey's comments were appalling. But the idea that it is appropriate to seek journalists for the comments of their respondents is simply absurd.
"For the sake of our valued free press, I hope @metpoliceuk reconsider."
He was followed by Ben Bradley, Conservative MP from Mansfield, who angrily said, “God save the world if people who are offended make something a crime !!
"In this case, according to prosecutors, Darren's 'crime' does not predict that his interviewee would say something offensive. Investigated because they are close to someone else's thought crime."
Tim Farron, former Lib Dem leader, added, “There may be more here than you think, but at first glance this is completely ridiculous.
& # 39; Grimes is not responsible for Starkey's appalling comments. Surely we don't do that in a free society? & # 39;
Douglas Murray, author and editor of The Spectator magazine, said: This is not police behavior in a free society.
“Take someone to a police station for something someone said to them in an interview? It's a shame about @metpolice uk. & # 39;
The Freedom Association accused the Met Police of “undermining” the rule of law, adding: “Freedom of speech is important. We stand shoulder to shoulder with Darren Grimes.
In response to the investigation, Mr. Grimes said, “At a time when many in our country are facing uncertainty and financial hardship, I cannot think of a more despicable way for the city police to abuse taxpayers' money and the trust of citizens as the annoying claim. & # 39;
He added that the threat of arrest if he did not attend the "voluntary" interview had "serious implications for freedom of expression".
Toby Young, General Secretary of the Free Speech Union, told MailOnline: “Almost everyone rightly condemned this grotesque attack on press freedom, including a former interior minister.
“I hope the Met realizes it's a stupid mistake and drops this investigation right away.
Grimes interviewed the pictured Prof. David Starkey, who later apologized for the crime caused by his comments on the YouTube channel
"In a free country, journalists shouldn't be threatened with arrest for saying something offensive to someone they interviewed."
A statement posted on the Free Speech Union website said: “It is absurd to accuse Mr. Grimes of inciting racial hatred. The only hatred Dr. Starkey exclaimed was against himself. "
Mr Young said Mr Grimes would never have apologized "if only days before he tried to incite racial hatred over the course of a broadcast".
He asked if journalists were going to police the comments made by those questioned. Such an action would have "a deterrent effect on freedom of expression, which is the lifeblood of democracy".
Grimes attorney Luke Gittos of Murrays Partnership said, “Mr. Grimes, of course, maintains his innocence.
& # 39; This is an unprecedented application of public policy legislation to target a member of the broadcast media. It should affect anyone who believes in freedom of the press. & # 39;
Mr Grimes founded BeLeave, a pro-Brexit group that targeted younger voters during the 2016 referendum campaign.
Last year he managed to overturn an Electoral Commission fine of £ 20,000 for spending misconduct. Until 2018 he was also the deputy editor of the political website BrexitCentral.
The Met investigation comes following a complaint to Durham police. Mr. Grimes lives in London.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "On July 4th, the Metropolitan Police Service received an allegation from Durham Police Department of a public order violation related to a social media video posted on June 30th. The matter is being investigated. No arrests. & # 39;