Philip Hollobone's election agent suspended from Tory Party for anti-muslim posts
Philip Hollobone’s election agent has been suspended from the Conservative party for posting Islamaphobic content along with another Northampton councillor.
Chairman of the Kettering Conservative Association Cllr Paul Marks and Conservative councillor for Kingsthorpe North Sam Rumens have been put under suspension for historic social media posts about Muslims while an investigation takes place.
A dossier compiled by anti-racism twitter campaigner @matesjacob was given to the Guardian, which exposed the social media postings of 15 current and 10 former Conservative councillors.
The Conservative Party has now taken action and has said in a statement released today that it will ‘never stand by when it comes to prejudice and discrimination of any kind.’
Cllr Marks, who has been a member of the Conservative Party since 1979, said he received a letter marked private and confidential today telling him of his suspension.
In a social media post Cllr Marks called London Mayor Sadiq Khan a ‘vile creature’.
Speaking today he said the comments had been made in a private group rather than in public, that he did not dislike Muslims and did not know what Islamaphobia was. He said he had liked a comment in a post making allegations about Sadiq Khan but did not know who the person making the alleggations was.
He told the Local Democracy Reporting service he did not feel anything about being suspended and it was ‘standard practice’.
He said: “If I accused you of eating babies, you would be suspended. The lesson to draw from this is don’t use social media. It can be used against you.”
Cllr Rumens made a series of tweets in 2012, when he was 16. He has today suspended his twitter account, previously being an active user and taking part in political debate.
The tweets said: “I just saw a white muslim, what the shiz” and “if only I was muslim I could be doing much more explosive things.”
He has not responded to emails and phone calls today.
A Conservative Party spokesperson said: “All those found to be party members have been suspended immediately, pending investigation. The swift action we take on not just anti-Muslim discrimination, but discrimination of any kind is testament to the seriousness with which we take such issues.
“The Conservative Party will never stand by when it comes to prejudice and discrimination of any kind. That’s why we are already establishing the terms of an investigation to make sure that such instances are isolated and robust processes are in place to stamp them out as and when they occur.”
The party has been under pressure to clamp down on Islamaphobia within the party with Baroness Varsi saying the party has a ‘serious and deep problem’ with Islamaphobia.