UK Conservative lawmaker convicted of racially aggravated offence to sit as independent

Bob Stewart, British member of parliament (MP) and co-chair of the British-Taiwanese All-Party Parliamentary Group speaks at a news conference in Taipei

LONDON (Reuters) - A lawmaker in British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's governing Conservative Party has surrendered the party whip - meaning he will sit in parliament as an independent - while he appeals against his conviction for a racially aggravated public order offence, a party source said on Saturday.

Bob Stewart, who has been a member of parliament since 2010, was reported by local media to have told an activist who confronted him during a protest in central London last year to "go back to Bahrain".

Stewart, who had been attending an event hosted by the government of Bahrain, had denied the charge. He was fined 600 pounds ($750) on Friday.

Reuters has contacted Stewart for comment.

Losing the whip means he will sit in parliament's lower House of Commons as an independent MP (lawmaker).

The opposition Labour Party had called on Sunak to remove it.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Piper, writing by James Davey; Editing by Giles Elgood)