THE decision to accept an invite to share a public platform with an Arab-Israeli preacher facing deportation has been defended by Bolton MP Yasmin Qureshi.

Palestinian activist Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel, was arrested on Tuesday after entering Britain on Saturday to speak at a series of public events, including a “roundtable discussion” in the Houses of Parliament.

Ms Qureshi was one of several Labour MPs who had also been invited to speak at one of the events, organised by Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), on Wednesday night.

The Bolton South East MP said she did not know Mr Salah but made it clear to the PSC that she “would not wish” to share a platform with him if allegations of anti-semitism were true.

She said: “I knew nothing about the other speakers and, to be honest, I had not even heard of Mr Salah until a couple of days ago.

“I spoke at the meeting alongside other people, including some from the Jews for Justice for Palestinians organisation.

“This man has not entered the UK in secret and his visit has been well-publicised for weeks. If a person is convicted of the offences Mr Salah has been accused of, then there is no way I would want to share a platform with him.”

Mr Salah has been accused of a history of “virulent anti-semitism” and entered the UK despite allegedly being banned.

Lawyers for Mr Salah, who is an Israeli citizen, deny the accusations and said they would fight the deportation order.

They said Mr Salah and his legal representatives had never been notified of an exclusion order.

Cllr Andy Morgan, chairman of the Bolton South East Conservatives who stood against Ms Qureshi in last year’s General Election, said the decision to accept the invite had been “naive”.

He added: “Yasmin has to remember she is meant to represent the whole of her community.

“I guess the other issue we have is how this man was able to walk through immigration if he is on a list of people banned from this country.”